“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ (John 19:26-27)
Today’s feast is a sequel to that of the Exaltation of the Cross. We cannot deny that Mary suffered great pain watching her beloved son suffer. In the Stations of the Cross, we noted: “It is harder to watch the pains of those we love than to bear our pains.” Mary stood beside her son in his moments of agony, scourging at the pillar and carrying on the cross and crucifixion. She remained even while his close friends, the disciples, fled for their dear lives. Today, we shall consider the seven sorrows of Mary.
1. First Sorrow of Mary – The prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:22-35). Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
2. Second Sorrow of Mary – The flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-21). When the Magi had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. He said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night, departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.
3. Third Sorrow of Mary – Finding of Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:41-50). After three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. His mother told him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” He said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?”
4. Fourth Sorrow of Mary – Mary meets Jesus on the cross. (John 19:1; Luke 23:26-32). And there followed him a great multitude of the people and women who bewailed and lamented him.
5. Fifth Sorrow of Mary – Jesus Dies on the Cross. (Mark 15:22; John 19:18,25-27; Luke 23:46). Standing by the cross of Jesus were his Mother and his Mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your Mother!” And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own home. And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “E’lo-i, E’lo-i, la’ma sabach-tha’ni?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
6. Sixth Sorrow of Mary – Mary receives the dead body of her son. (John 19:31-34,38; Lamentations 1:12). After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body.
7. Seventh Sorrow of Mary – Jesus is laid in the tomb. (Matthew 27:59; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:46; Luke 27:55-56). They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews…So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there… The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then, they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
If you agree that Mary carried Jesus in her womb for nine months and went through labour pains to have him, I do not know of any mother who would not feel a thing while watching her innocent son go through all of these. Whatever our present sorrows in this life may be, let us be consoled that we have a mother who was no stranger to sorrow and reach out for our rosary in asking for her intercession.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, grant me the grace to carry diligently the crosses I must carry for the benefit of those around me. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Timothy 1:1-2,12-14, Ps. 16:1-2,5,7-8,11, John 19:25-27).
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu