Memory of the Church

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Memory of Mary, mother of Jesus, suffering at the foot of the Cross and of all those who live the compassion with those who are crucified, alone, condemned.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 19, 25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son.'

Then to the disciple he said, 'This is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Immediately after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the liturgy commemorates Our Blessed Lady of Sorrows. Although a relatively recent feast day, it plants its roots deeply into Calvary on that Holy Friday when Mary, mother of Jesus, was just one among a few who remained with Jesus crucified on the cross. With just a few lines, the Gospel of John narrates the extraordinary mystery of Mary’s presence. Deeply pained in her heart, she remains close to the Son and receives from him a new mission. Truly violence and betrayal mark the story of Jesus’ Passion, but that is not what the Passion is entirely about: it is also a song to life that springs up again. From up high on the cross, Jesus does not ask for consolation for himself, as we would have done. He concerns himself, rather, with the small group—his mother and the young disciple—standing below at the foot of the cross. In the young disciple’s face we can see the face of each one of us and Jesus is entrusting all of us to his mother, to Mary, to the Church, to the community of believers. And, likewise, he entrusts Mary to us. We are not abandoned to a society, which often is like a cruel mother with her children. Jesus asks Mary to be our mother, too. The evangelist writes: "And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home." This episode seems small, but it marks the first victory of life over death and is the first fruit of the cross, the fruit of a limitless love that is stronger than death. While everything seems lost and the enemies of justice and of the Gospel sing victoriously, from the voice of a defeated man arise a new friendship and solidarity between the young disciple and the older mother. It is the first sign of the resurrection, or we could say, the first fruit of Jesus’ death. On the cross, the law of self-love was defeated and a new friendship was born. A small family, united not by flesh and blood, but by the love of the crucified Lord was created.