Tuesday 15 September 2015

At the foot of the cross

Memoria of Our Lady of Sorrows. The first reading, 1Tim 3:1-13, has the famous line quoted by Bulchand years ago: "If he cannot take care of his own household, how can he take care of the household of God?" A great line for formation: if you cannot take care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else? The formation of formators... crucial.
Interestingly, the gospel reading, Jn 19:25-27, makes mention of "home" if not "household": "from that hour, the disciple took her into his home." Mary, accepted into our home, Mary, mother and teacher, who teaches us to love as she taught Don Bosco, as she taught Jesus...

On the Cross, Jesus gives us Mary, and with the beloved disciple we take Mary into our home, into our lives, into our hearts. And Mary - simply leads us back to Jesus, and to his Body that is the Church; which means that she leads us back to Jesus and his brothers and sisters.
To stand before the cross is to stand before suffering - the suffering of Jesus, the suffering in my own life, the suffering in the lives of others, the suffering of the world.
Jesus: the innocent one who suffers. One of the sets of readings of Lent always comes to mind: Susannah, innocent and saved from death; the adulterous woman in Jn 8, not innocent and saved; Jesus, innocent and not saved from death. In Jesus, the mystery of innocent suffering. In us, there is innocent suffering at times, but also the suffering caused by ourselves, our sins, our selfishness. And most of the time, the two are mixed up beyond distinction, as for example when I am wronged, and I retaliate, and so enter into the spiral of violence. In Christ, instead, we see suffering accepted with grace, though not without struggle: "he learned obedience through what he suffered." The core of his self-offering, the core of the Eucharist, which we call sacrifice: the sacrifice of obedience, the total acceptance of the good and the bad of life, the will of the Father, total surrender, and forgiveness, and the peace that comes with it.
So what might "making up in my body what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ" mean? That in some way we are privileged to participate in the sacrifice of Christ... Like Mary at the foot of the Cross.

This also is suffering: when someone you love does not understand; when there is a moment of misunderstanding between you and someone you love. It happened, probably, also between Jesus and Mary. We are told that "his mother and his brothers came to search for him, thinking he was out of his mind." (Mk 3,20-21, 31) The wonderful thing is that Jesus and Mary do not show haste in explaining, making up, talking about. Both are content to walk before the Father - an attitude that Jesus certainly learned from his mother. On the way of the cross and at the cross we find them together.


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