Gospel Reflection – Thursday (15 September) – 24th week of Ordinary Time – Our Lady of Sorrows
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (19: 25-27) which shares the poignant scene of Mary at the foot of Jesus’ Cross. After reading the Gospel, Fr Paul shares a little about the feast of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’, which we celebrate today.
Fr Paul says, the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows flourished in the Middle Ages, and the hymn Stabat Mater was composed for it.
The title, ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’, has been given to Mary as it focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord.
Traditionally, though this suffering was not limited to just the passion and death event; rather, it comprised the seven sorrows of Mary, which were foretold by the priest Simeon in the Gospel of Luke. Simeon proclaimed to Mary, that the child Jesus was destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, that Jesus was a sign that would be opposed by many, and that Mary’s heart would be pierced with a sword (Luke 2:34-35).
These seven traditional sorrows of our lady included:
• the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt • the loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple • Mary’s meeting of Jesus on His way to Calvary • Mary’s standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord was crucified • her holding of Jesus when He was taken down from the cross • and, lastly, our Lord’s burial.
Although it is officially celebrated today, the day after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, popular devotion in many parts of the Mediterranean celebrates it with processions on the Friday before Holy Week.
Fr Paul says, today, as we celebrate this feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we ask for Our Lady’s intercession for those areas in our lives that we suffer from in the way of grief or torment.