Monday, September 15, 2014

A Sword Will Pierce

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.  1 Corinthians 11:33

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34-35

"At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed."
(Stabat Mater)

Mary was physically untouched during the trial and execution of Jesus.  However, from the circumstances of his Immaculate Conception and birth to his death on the cross where she watched her son’s execution, emotionally and spiritually, Mary was in pain.  Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary's sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross.

She was, is and will forever be, the example of humility and obedience for us. Close to Jesus to the last. While others fled, she remained behind with her son.

Jesus was a conundrum to all but Mary.  Isaiah 8:14 prophesied:  “He shall be a snare, a stone for injury, A rock for stumbling to both the houses of Israel, A trap and a snare to those who dwell in Jerusalem.”  Many have stumbled while trying to follow Jesus.  Many but not all.  Not Mary. 

Why not? Because the many did it not by faith, but as if it could be done by works.  They stumbled over the stone that causes stumbling. (Romans 9:32).  Mary, however, did it by faith.  However, in so doing, faith did not shield her from sorrow any more than faith shielded Jesus from pain and death. 

What causes others to stumble has become central to our faith.  “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

Coming the day after the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, is it any wonder how such faith could turn a symbol of pain and death into a symbol of joy and life?

What causes you to stumble?  How can faith help you resolve that stone in your path?

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