September 15, 2020
by Luis Rodriguez. S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Lectionary: 444/639

Jeremiah 31:1-7
Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13
Matthew 15:21-28

Praying Ordinary Time

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Some of you may know or have heard of one or more women named Dolores, a name that has a long tradition in the Spanish/Hispanic culture. The name was initially MarĂ­a de los Dolores -Mary of Sorrows, later simplified to Dolores, and is based precisely in today’s liturgical celebration. Even in that culture it is unlikely that a girl/woman addressed by that name today would think of Mary, but that is what today we celebrate liturgically.

The entrance antiphon for today’s mass has Simeon’s hard prediction for Mary: a sword will pierce your heart. While ministering at a hospital, I was part of a scene that helped me resonate with Mary’s pierced heart. I was called to the trauma unit to accompany a mother and husband to view the body of a young police woman, her daughter and his wife, who had been shot dead in the line of duty, as she fulfilled her mission. The mother was totally devastated, as I am sure Mary was at Calvary seeing her young Son killed “in the line of duty,” as he fulfilled his mission. There was also an unmistakable show of solidarity on the side of other police officers and their families.

In a way, this is what we recall today liturgically: a mother’s grief and anguish at the death of the One she loved most, executed unjustly, and also a compassionate solidarity on the side of the disciple who took her under his care. We do not grieve today for Mary, except liturgically, because her own pain and anguish are now over. But we can try to resonate with what she went through at that moment, resonating with gratitude for her having accepted to take us all under her care, as in today gospel narrative, Jesus commended the disciple to her: there is your mother.

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