Our Lady of Sorrows
1Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35
When I read the first scripture reading for today I scratched my head. How does it refer to Mary? Then I realized that Mary is not explicitly mentioned by name in the letters that Paul wrote to his churches. He began to write those letters in 50 AD and Mary might still have been alive and in her late sixties. There is no indication that he ever met the Mother of Jesus. He may have heard some of the stories referring to her that eventually made it into the gospels, but they were written after he was martyred in Rome. Our reading is concerned with the supper held by the Corinthian community when they gathered together. With the division and selfishness on display Paul says "it is not to eat the Lord’s supper". For that supper is in remembrance of the "death of the Lord" and goes back to "the night he was handed over" and celebrated the Passover meal with his apostles in the upper room. It was there he spoke the words "This is my Body that is for you" and "This cup is the new covenant in my blood" accompanied with the command: "Do this in remembrance of me". Maybe by choosing this reading the church wants us to contemplate Mary as she participated in the Lord’s Supper in the years she lived in the care of the beloved disciple. With what devotion and faith would Mary have eaten the Bread and drank the Wine that mystically united her with her son. We too can ask our mother Mary to help us with a deep awareness and appreciation of the Eucharist.
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.