One of the enduring traits of someone who loves you is that they will not abandon you no matter how difficult the situation becomes. Fair weather friends, those who are with you in the good times and gone in when troubles arise, are not true friends. Mary demonstrates the true commitment of a mother by standing beneath her son, Jesus as He hangs on the cross about to die. We see the unfailing love of Jesus for His mother when he commends her to the care of John the Apostle.


We celebrate today the sorrows of Mary in that she suffered greatly in her role as the Mother of the Son of God. If we remember, the beginning of her mission could hardly be considered auspicious – she has to deal with all of the problems that result from being pregnant out of wedlock! After Jesus’ birth in a stable, she has to flee to Egypt to protect Jesus from the wrath of Herod who is seeking to kill all possible rivals for his kingship.


However, the greatest of her sorrows must have been to stand by powerless as her son endured His passion and death. When I first watched Mel Gibson’s version of the Passion of the Christ, I was haunted by the look in Mary’s eyes for the duration of the film. The actress did a brilliant job in portraying the demeanor and emotions of Mary. I doubt if I have seen a better piece of acting! I think that it is important for us to try to empathize with Mary because it will help the full impact of the passion and death of Jesus to reach into our hearts and minds. As we see this event through the eyes and heart of woman without sin, we will be drawn more deeply into the utter gift Jesus’ giving His life for us really is! Perhaps we will begin to understand the full import or meaning of His sacrifice out of love for us.


Jesus held nothing back when He died on the cross. He gave over His life into the hands of the Father and basically surrendered everything to God the Father. In Mary at the foot of the cross we see a similar surrender to the will of God, but surrender without the fullness of knowledge that Jesus had that the Father would vindicate Him in the end. Mary is not just resigned to the fact that Jesus is about to die on the cross; she is surrendered to this fact in faith. It is this faith that will see her through this the darkest moment of her life. Her faith will uphold her until she hears the news of the resurrection.


What is my response to the difficulties I encounter in my life? Do I embrace them in faith or do I give in and give up?


Lord Jesus, you endured the suffering of your passion and death because you knew there was a higher reason for them. You trusted the will of your Father. Help me to have the grace to face my own sufferings with the same sort of faith and trust in God.