Bible Passage related to the Mystery: Mark 15:22-39
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: The King Of The Jews. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself !” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
The amount of suffering Jesus underwent is unimaginable- the dreadful agony that he had to endure what no man ever could. Imagine the grief of our most sorrowful Mother Mary, witnessing her son, taken to be crucified on the cross for the sins of all mankind. She had to helplessly watch the torment Jesus suffered. She would have gladly given her life to save His.
In a way, she allowed her son to be crucified on the cross. It is like picturing a sword going through the heart of Mother Mary. She is the epitome of sacrifice and suffering, on losing her beloved son. The sight of Mary and her profound grief at seeing our Lord in this horrible state would only have increased His anguish.
We can get an idea of how much our Blessed Mother would have suffered, as well as how much strength and determination it took for her to remain at the foot of the cross and not leave Jesus’ side until He died. In that sense, she was indeed a “true martyr” for our faith.
St. Bernard called Mary a martyr “not by the sword of the executioner, but by the bitter sorrow of her heart.” Indeed, the Church also calls her the “Queen of Martyrs”.
St. Albert the Great said “As we are indebted to Jesus for what he suffered for love of us, we are also to Mary for the martyrdom which she, in the death of her Son, voluntarily suffered for our salvation.”
There may be unfavourable circumstances in our lives and the Lord is asking us to have faith and persevere just like Mary did. Remember if you, like Mary, suffer for Jesus, you will be also be glorified with Him.
Mother Mary is the refuge of all sinners and that makes her the perfect way for us to reach Jesus and become worthy of His mercy.
Let us show our gratitude to our Lord and our Lady for their suffering in how we live our lives as Christians.
If we have truly humbled ourselves and submitted ourselves to the Lord, the grace of God working in our lives should inspire us to undertake the journey with Jesus and thereby prepare ourselves for the two big events that are the pillars of our faith – the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
- In my trials and tribulations, do I become a selfish, resentful person? Do I despair?
- How can I ever withhold forgiveness from those who have done me wrong?
- Do I realize that my sins killed Jesus?
- Do I give in to the temptation to save myself from pain or discomfort?
- Am I truly sorry for my sins, no matter how grave and seek His forgiveness?
- Am I able to cling onto Jesus even when I feel desolate and abandoned?
- Am I able to forgive my tormentors and pray for them just like Jesus did?
- Do I imitate Mary in her dying to herself behaviour for the love of her son Jesus?
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
~ Romans 5:8
Witnessing the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord, where He laid down His life is the ultimate act of redemption. Celebrating the passion of our Lord is, dying to yourself- It is about finding aspects of yourself that are fewer Christ-like and allowing them to die.
Sin is what keeps us away from embracing and experiencing God’s eternal love, without which a soul is lost. As St. Paul says, “You need to die daily to your selfish ways by crucifying your evil inclinations.”
I am in love with living the 40 days of Lent. I am in love with the idea that people gather around to remind each other of the ransom sacrifice of our Lord paid and open their minds and hearts to the transforming power of God’s presence and grace. I try to empty myself of my self-righteousness and pride and see how I could respond to God’s call in new ways by placing myself in God’s hands.
Through this mystery, I am convicted to persevere in faith, like Mother Mary – strive to live my life for Jesus and die in Him and so that I inherit eternal life.
There was a time when I was facing difficulty in finding a suitable job. Few months passed and things looked glum- adding to the frustration and pain.
I started to consider this question:
Would I still follow Jesus if it meant losing my job or not finding one?
Each day I carried hope, love, and forgiveness of the Cross with me to the places that I was interviewed, to the ones that rejected my candidature. I carried it everywhere, wherever my life took me.
I embraced the fact that the suffering I’m experiencing can be offered as a sacrifice to God. Despite the failures and struggles, I was convicted that God would bless me in His time and so, He did. And I still continue to experience His mercy and goodness.
Dear Lord Jesus, let the love and sacrifice you have shown us through your crucifixion permeate into our entire being. May the body of sin be destroyed, entirely that we may serve sin no longer. Help us persevere in faith, like Mother Mary.
Dear Mother, by thy afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel now and at the hour of our death. Amen!
“Greater Love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends”
~ John 15:13
Virtue to learn from Mother Mary for the day: Perseverance