Saturday, 15 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the day after we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation and the Triumph of the Holy Cross, we commemorate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. On this day we remember the sorrow, anguish and pain which Mary, the Mother of God and Our Lord Jesus Christ experienced, when she saw her beloved Son suffering the pain of the crucifixion.

We can just imagine the greatness of the sorrow and anguish she experienced as a mother, who had to see her own Son suffering, and dying on the Cross. This is especially coming from a mother who is exceptionally loving towards her Son, having been the one who raised Him up and protected Him throughout life, and who journeyed with Him throughout the years of His ministry among the people of God.

She saw how her Son obediently followed the will of God, His Father, in taking up humbly, all the sins of mankind, as what He has been sent into the world for, and by taking all of those sins upon Himself, He let Himself be humbled, be humiliated and stripped off completely of any glory, privileges, and even basic human dignity, as He was tortured and spat upon by the people and those who have condemned Him to death.

This is what the prophet Simeon had spoken, in one of our two possible Gospel passages today, when he spoke to Mary, about the heart of Mary that would be pierced by a sword, to show the extent of pain and anguish she would suffer, in seeing her own Son suffering to such an extent. The sorrow which Mary felt must indeed have been very great. And yet, she remained true to her commitment to God, and in her love for her Son.

Most importantly, Mary has seen the suffering that her Son suffered, the sufferings that were intended for each one of us sinners. And this is why, we have seen many Marian apparitions throughout many centuries, especially at times when we mankind are undergoing periods of troubles, wickedness and evil. Mary appeared to us, as a loving mother who is concerned with our actions and our sins, our lack of faith and our apparent path towards damnation.

Why is that so? That is because, as we heard in the Gospel passage today taken from the account of the crucifixion by St. John, we heard how the Lord Jesus entrusted His mother Mary to the disciple He loved, that is St. John himself, and then also entrusted St. John to Mary, His mother, that she might be his mother and that he might be like her own son. In this way, the Lord has actually entrusted her to all of us mankind, to be our mother, and vice versa, that all of us have been entrusted to her as her own children.

You can imagine the kind of sorrow that Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows has experienced, when she saw all the sins that we continue to commit in our lives, all the actions lacking in faith and in all the vile deeds and wicked words we uttered, even among us all who have been considered as members of God’s Church, as baptised Christians. Many of us have not lived in accordance with what God has called us all to be, and our attention, heart and mind have not yet been centred on God.

Unless something is done, many of us, through our sins, are on our way to eternal damnation, because of all the good things and deeds which we have been told to do, and which are indeed our obligations as Christians, and yet which we have failed to do. Many of us have sought not true satisfaction in God, but rather the entertainment and the merrymaking ways of the world, seeking to satisfy the pleasures and desires of our flesh and bodies, and in how we ignore the plight of those who are crying out for justice and for our help.

In this context, how can Mary then stay silent in the midst of all these things that happened? How we mankind treated one another with contempt, with hatred, with jealousy, with ignorance of the sanctity of human life, when we cause suffering upon others, and even loss of life, just so that we might get what we wanted and satisfy our greed and pride? That was why Mary made her appearance at Fatima in Portugal, during the height of the First World War, calling for the conversion of mankind, and for them to turn away from their sinful ways.

She knows that if nothing was done for them, and they continued to walk down the path of sin, then what lies in the end will surely be the pain and eternal suffering in hell, when because of their sins, there would be those who encounter downfall into that state of eternal despair and rejection by God. As a mother, she cannot bear to see us suffer in the same manner as that of her Son, and therefore, she continues to pray for us, to guide us to the right path, to follow her Son, and find our way to salvation in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as those whom the Mother of God herself has considered as her own children, are we then so insolent and ungrateful, so as to make our dear mother even more saddened by our actions and wicked deeds? If we truly love God, we will also love His mother, and vice versa, and how do we love God and His mother Mary? It is by genuine conversion of heart and renewed commitment to live and serve the Lord at all times.

Let us all repent from all of our wicked ways and turn away from all the sins which we have committed in life thus far. Let us all have faith in God, and let us all grow to love Him more and more, and draw ever closer to Him, with each and every passing moments. May the Lord bless us all, and may He continue to guide us all through life. O Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us sinners always, that we will no longer add more sorrows to your grieving heart, through our conversion of hearts. Amen.

Saturday, 15 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.”

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign; a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Saturday, 15 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o YHVH, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o YHVH, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o YHVH, I said : “You are my God.” My days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!

Saturday, 15 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 5 : 7-9

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him, Who could save Him from death, and He was heard, because of His humble submission. Although He was Son, He learnt, through suffering, what obedience was, and, once made perfect, He became the Source of eternal salvation, for those who obey Him.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is related to the Feast which we have just celebrated the day before, that is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And while yesterday we rejoice in the glory of the Holy Cross and the triumphant victory which our Lord Jesus Christ had won because of His sacrifice on the Cross, today we remember that behind the Cross, precisely at the foot of the Cross, was Mary, the mother of our Lord.

For Mary was ever faithful and devoted to her Son, Whom she followed throughout His life and ministry in this world, ever loving Him and caring for Him at all times, even to the point of following Him to the Cross at Calvary. It must have been painful and unbearably excruciating for a mother to have to witness her Son being made to suffer, tortured and rejected by the people whom He had loved, and the pain which Mary had felt upon seeing the nails piercing the hands and the feet of her Son must have been tremendous.

This was what the prophet Simeon had foretold to Mary and Joseph, at the time when they brought the Baby Jesus to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. He foretold that a sword would pierce the heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord, but through that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. It is the thought which Mary always had for her Son, ever placing Him at the forefront of her mind, and the care and love He had for her, which she now shows us from her wounded heart.

Therefore, today, all of us look upon Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God, whom her Son had entrusted to us as our Mother, and vice versa, that we have also been entrusted to her as her adopted children. And in her we see the sorrowful eyes which have gazed on the suffering of her Son, as He took up His cross, walking the long path from Jerusalem to Calvary, seeing her Son rejected and trampled upon, loathed and made to suffer, bearing the burdens of our sins, the entirety of mankind’s unimaginably huge burden of sin.

Therefore, that is why the sorrow of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows is clear, even unto this very day, because even though God had loved us and He even willingly laid down His life for our sake, sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, but we continue to sin and commit what is evil in the sight of God, refusing to obey God and His laws, and continuing to do what is against the Law of God.

Every single sin that we commit, every single one of our failure in doing what we could have done to obey God’s will, are every wounds that have been inflicted on our Lord Jesus Christ, the wounds and the whiplashes that tore at His Body, which made Him to suffer and to bleed. And all of these brought more sorrow to our loving mother, who loves each and every one of us just as she loves her Son.

Yet, we mankind continue to walk down our path towards destruction, by our ignorance of the Lord’s ways and teachings, by our refusal to repent and to turn away from all of our sinful ways. That is also why Mary made so many appearances in various times and places, including at Fatima, which centenary of her Apparition we celebrate this year.

Every time Mary, our mother made her appearance, she called upon her children to repent from their sins and to turn away from their wicked ways. She showed them the horrors of hell and what awaits those who are not faithful to God. That is because each and every one of us are precious to her, for she is our mother, and she loves us just as she loves and tenderly cares for her Son Jesus. She does not want even a single soul to end up in the damnation of hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the great sorrows of Mary, our loving mother and the mother of our Lord, who have witnessed just how great the love God had for us, that for our sake, He was willing to die for us, that each and every one of us may have life in us, let us all therefore spend some time to think about what we have done in our lives thus far, and what we have not done in accordance with God’s ways and teachings.

Let us from now on turn ourselves wholeheartedly and completely towards the Lord, our God, and through the guidance shown upon us by His mother Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, may all of us be able to find our way to the salvation and eternal life found in Him alone. Let the sorrowful heart of our loving mother Mary remind us of the need for us to reject all forms of sin, and live with faith, zeal and devotion from now on.

May all of us draw our attention to the Blessed Mother Mary, and through her may all of us find our most direct path to her Son. May the Lord continue to bless us and be with us all the days of our life. Amen.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.”

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign; a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o YHVH, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o YHVH, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o YHVH, I said : “You are my God.” My days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!