September 15, Our Lady of Sorrows
The adoration of the cross
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Lk 2,33-35
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, 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 into his home. Jn 19,25-27
Today, the church proposes to us alternatively the meditation on two readings from Luke’s and John’s Gospels. We quote them both, because they enlighten each other, like two lighthouses in the night: the sword piercing Mary’s soul, predicted by Simeon in the first reading, will be her experience under the cross, where Jesus offers his life to save the world, as narrated in the second reading. There are many people who , under the cross, participate with their grief in Jesus’s death, and the redemption of the world: Our Lady, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas, the Apostle John, the good thief, the Roman centurion. We also want to join this group, devoting some time to worshipping the cross, letting it speak to us and keeping the messages it sends to us in our hearts. Let’s start with the sign of the cross, which accompanies the Trinitarian Creed: in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The adoration of the cross gives us the privilege of participating in the redemption of the world, not only to share it. Only our Lord Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, we are all rescued, saved and redeemed from our sin. We do not know what messages the worship will deliver to us today, a worship we engage in with the spirit of that peasant who the Saint Curé d’Ars used to see each evening coming back from his work in the fields, laying down his tools out of the church, coming in and staying for a long time, sitting in silence in front of the crucifix. One evening, the curate asked him what he was doing, and he replied, almost surprised at the question: “I’m in front of my Lord. I look at him and he looks at me and we are both happy”. Jesus speaks differently to each person. The Roman centurion was enlightened about who Jesus was: “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mk 15, 39). St. Paul was enlightened about the importance of the cross in the history of salvation: “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified”(1Cor 2, 2). Abbé Pierre, the man who has restored dignity to the bums and the derelict in the slums of Paris after the Second World War, was told by Jesus on the cross: “My feet and hands are nailed, it’s up to you to go and do it for me”. What will the adoration of the cross say to us today?