I Timothy 1.1-2,12-14; Psalm 15; John 19.25-27
The Sequence Hymn for this day (the use of which is now optional), Stabat Mater Dolorosa, was composed by the 13thCentury Franciscan, Jacopone da Todi. “The sorrowful mother stands,” the literal translation of the first line, in many ways sums up this feast.
St John is the only one of the four evangelists who explicitly mentions the presence of the Mother of Jesus standing, as the hymn puts it, ‘close to Jesus at the last.’ The Crucifixion fulfils Simeon’s prophecy, on the fortieth day of Jesus’ earthly life, that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart. [Luke 2.35] ‘Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, now at length the sword had passed.’
The Blessed Virgin teaches us what it means to share the sufferings of Our Lord. Her own sufferings were conjoined to his as she offered her Son’s life to the Lord of Life, trusting in his eternal intention to utilise that life that bring life to the world. [John 10.10,17-18]