- The fourth station – jesus meets his blessed mother.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Luke 2:25-40 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
The Gospels can be a little confusing – on the one hand everything seems to be foretold to Mary and she accepts the joy and the burden of being the ‘handmaid’ of the Lord. It seems that she must fully understand what is being asked of her and all that it means. Yet does she? Does she understand what kind of messiah Jesus will be? Or does she, like the disciples seem to do too, understand her son in terms of a particular range of the expectations of Israel – that he would be glorious; he would cleanse the temple, deal with Israel’s enemies decisively, and be a great warrior and leader of armies whilst also being a shepherd King. The words of old Simeon seem on the one hand to confirm this, but also to imply another, not so straight forward role for Jesus – one that will be the way of suffering which would extend its reach even to Mary – whose soul would be pierced with a sword.
I take this to mean the sharp sword of grief and pain that comes from seeing someone you love so very deeply, and completely, being destroyed by other’s violence and anger – and the power politics of powerful men.
In this Mary stands with mothers all over the world who suffer the pain of grief when their sons and daughters are imprisoned, tortured, and killed by regimes that know only the power of violence.
Do I allow the sword of sorrow and pain to enter my own soul when I see, or hear the suffering of another in the face of oppression or tyranny? How do I use that grief positively to change lives, minds, hearts? Including perhaps my own?
Our Father………..Glory be……………Hail Mary………….
Jesus, may your Mother pray for us so as open up our hearts in compassion for the suffering of the innocent and misunderstood and the little ones who have no one to remember them. Amen