Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Reading 1: 1 Cor. 10: 14-22; Gospel: Jn. 19: 25-27
Is God a jealous God? Does my God, whom I so fondly call Abba Father, exact vengeance? Or is He meting out justice? Am I to fear God who is anger-personified or am I to fear Him inasmuch as I fear the possibility of losing Him, of distancing myself from His ever-loving presence?
Is my God jealous of me eating the food offered to idols or am I distancing myself from God by such an act? Am I condemning myself by acting unjustly? Am I not making a whore of myself by drinking from the cup offered to both God and the demons? Am I not liable for judgment because of my infidelity? Why should God be jealous, when he is still faithful to me, even when I am unfaithful to him?
I prefer to reserve my doubts with regard to my Lord being a jealous God. In our enthusiasm to identify God with ourselves, we could get carried away in our efforts to attribute our feelings and emotions to God. I could not believe in a God who is jealous and angry, and at the same time, enjoin us to keep away from the cardinal sins of envy and wrath.
It’s because of our lack of understanding of God’s mysterious ways and the influence of sin that we constantly battle with, that compel us to arrive at such preposterous and infantile conclusions.
How about a God who agonizes, who is saddened at the prospect of coming down hard on us? Meting out justice could at times, be terrible, probably, to save souls at their most innocent moment, maybe to prune souls for scaling new heights in holiness or to chastise those that are obstinate. Why are we so quick to infer that God is an angry and jealous God? Can God’s justice bring about condemnation? I don’t know. What I do know is that God’s justice effects expiation and redemption. Condemnation, to me, is the work of the Devil, not of God.
Those who are more favoured and intimate with God, share not only in His glory, but in His sorrows and agony as well. Countless saints have experienced suffering in spite of their virtuous and exemplary life. Not because they merited it, but because they were privileged to partake in the Lord’s passion – Padre Pio who had the stigmata, St. Alphonsa who was reeling in pain, confined to bed for the better part of her life and very many others. But none must have suffered as much as our Blessed Mother.
To see the Fruit of her womb on the cross, and later to kiss his lifeless body in the tomb must have pained her beyond human endurance. Only a woman full of grace could survive such agony. By giving us the Blessed Virgin as our mother, Jesus gave us a mother who could understand us more than any other, who could console us more than any other, who could help us more than any other. Only once was she helpless – at the foot of the cross. Her absolute helplessness at the foot of the cross is where she draws her indomitable strength – strength to help all us in our pain and our sorrows, to crush the serpent’s head that torments her sons and daughters. The only reason for us to rejoice on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, is the assurance that Our Lady shall not let us down. Happy Feast, by the way, of Our Lady of Sorrows.