But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-8
As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
Please take time to reflect on the image below.
Meditation from the Preachers
From Bishop Monument
Reader 1 When Jesus and his mother meet, they just look at each other – words cannot express what they feel.
Reader 2 There is intimacy here: the remembrance of things past, the touch of a hand, a loving caress along the cheek, the tenderness of eyes that understand.
Reader 1 What Jesus saw in his mother’s eyes must have hurt him more than the raw pain of his wounds. This is what grips his heart. This is his ultimate bereavement.
We adore you O Christ,
and we praise you :
because by your Holy Cross
you have redeemed the world.
We Name the Crosses that stand among us today
Reader 2 Jesus carries the heavy burden of the loss of family – the tearing apart of the first of all relationships, the gentle intimacy of mother and child.
Reader 1 This breach is not of his making. The violence inflicted upon him was etched into the very heart of his mother, blow by blow, scourge for scourge, wound for wound.
Reader 1 As she watches the agony of her son, we see in Mary’s pain the agony of all the mothers and fathers who must stand by powerless, watching their children thrown down by the harshness of life: a brutality their children do not choose, but cannot avoid.
Reader 2 In Mary’s pain we see the suffering of every parent who must stand by and see a child annexed by gangsterism and violence; sexual abuse and being trafficked, seized by the long, grasping arms of drugs, addiction and suicide.
Reader 1 In the ache that wrenches Mary’s heart we recognise the pain of children coping with a world tearing apart, the breakdown of their parents’ marriages; the struggle of couples trying desperately to rebuild their relationships and make their family life secure again.
Reader 2 This is the pain of the reach of love, the agony of intimacy when it breaks and the breaking is beyond the stopping of it, inevitable and inescapable.
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot forget the gaze that settled between you and your mother, a moment of stillness in the raging conflict and piercing pain of that horrible day. That moment of pain was shot through with the deep truth of profound and enduring love.
Give us the courage to bring such love into the deepest recesses of our homes, to our children and to our spouses, to those whose lives are closely bound with ours, to those places of fracture and disharmony in the circle of our relationships.
Glory to the One, Holy and Undivided Trinity, one God :
As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.
My son, when he was much younger, was adventurous yet accident-prone, which is an unfortunate combination of traits to have. I will never forget the two ER visits that resulted in stitches his head. Or more recently ready to blast my way through the surgery door, to reach and screaming adult in need of comfort. As a mother, my heart aches whenever I know that my child is suffering, and I would do absolutely anything to take away his pain. That is what mothers do. When my son was younger, I would hug away his hurt and kiss his ouchies goodbye. I wish it were that easy now. As my son grew grow older, I know that I cannot protect him from all the heartache and challenges that he will face. My role is not to make it all go away but to listen and ask questions which help him navigate his next steps. As he becomes an adult, my hope and prayer is that he will always go to his mother as a source of comfort and help during their trials of life.
When Jesus meets his mother on the side of the road after having fallen, imagine how much comfort he must have felt with her embrace and words of encouragement and faith. Mary’s trust in God did not take away her heartache, confusion, or grief but as she bore those things in her heart, she remained hopeful in God’s love. How can you be a source of comfort and help to those around you who are struggling? Like Mary, do you accompany them with trust in God in your heart?
how sorrowful it must have been to know
that your own mother witnessed the suffering and rejection of her only son.
Grant consolation to all who suffer the pain of rejection
for the cause of your Father’s kingdom.