One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

September 15, 2006

For the Memorial of the Sorrowing Blessed Virgin Mary, 15 September

Luke 2:33-36

God tells us through the words of the Gospel that Simeon is a righteous or just man, devout, and the Holy Spirit is upon him.
Because of the Holy Spirit, Simeon comes to the temple where he meets Joseph, Mary and the newborn Savior.
Joseph and Mary bring the infant Savior to the temple to pay what God commands for the freedom of every firstborn male of the race of Israel.
Because of the Holy Spirit, Simeon knows he is meeting salvation itself in the Son of Mary.
Because of the Holy Spirit, Simeon proceeds to utter a prophecy in which Child and Mother have parallel roles.
Because of the Holy Spirit, Simeon says both Child and Mother shall touch MANY.
The Child is destined for conflict leading to both the fall and the rising— the RESURRECTION— of many.
The Mother is destined to have a sword stab through her own soul to cause the unveiling of the thoughts of the hearts of many.
Both Child and Mother shall suffer.
The Gospel itself proclaims their suffering together for the many.
This is not Catholic Marian piety speaking.
This is the Holy Spirit speaking.
As Child and Mother suffer, the thoughts of the hearts of many shall be revealed.
As those thoughts come to light, both the fall and the rising— the RESURRECTION— of many shall come to pass.
Mary clearly is not our Savior.
However, she willingly made it possible for our Savior to receive human conception and birth.
Today in the temple, Mary obeys the commandment of God by paying the price for the human freedom of the Savior.
With Joseph, she supplies the minimal sacrifice God asks of the poor— two pigeons— to pay God for the life of her firstborn Son, the Savior of the world.
Ordinarily, this would not be a day of sorrow, but a day of rejoicing over a firstborn son of Israel.
Yet, as God would have it, this day Mary must hear of the sorrow that awaits her Son and herself.
Their suffering shall be the fall of many, and their suffering shall be the rising— the RESURRECTION— of many.
Are we merely to pity Mary?
We are to do much more than merely that.
We are to be drawn to her, as surely as the Holy Spirit drew Simeon to speak to her.
We are to know, as the Holy Spirit let Simeon know and proclaim, that Mary has a role to play in the life and mission of our Savior.
The Gospel shows us at a poor wedding feast that Mary was the first person to intercede with the Savior on behalf of human sorrow.
In the face of all human poverty and suffering, Mary intercedes with her Son as she did at the wedding feast.
Furthermore, as she suffered to accompany the suffering of her son, she accompanies also the suffering of any disciple her Son loves.
To that motherly mission he appointed her from his cross.
The suffering of her Son and the suffering of those her Son loves— that is the sword that pierces her own soul.
Suffering reveals the thoughts of our hearts.
We fall with our thoughts, or we rise with our thoughts.
If we rise, the suffering of the Savior makes it so.
If we rise, Mary has already prayed for that.
Here in the Eucharist, both the fall of the Savior into death and the resurrection of the Savior come to us as one gift.
Mary, whose soul was stabbed through in the suffering of the Savior, prays that his suffering and his Eucharist, the Eucharist of this very hour, bear fruit unto the rising, the resurrection, of the many— ourselves.

That God Be Glorified in All


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