Today’s Gospel: Luke 2:22-40 – Presentation of the Lord
The day of Jesus’ presentation in the temple must have started out with excitement for Mary and Joseph. For on this day, their son would be “consecrated to the Lord.” It was a day of celebration and rejoicing, and it is honored as one of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
As we read along in the story, we come to Simeon, who prophesizes the child Jesus’ future and the sword that will pierce Mary’s heart. This is considered one of Mary’s Seven Sorrows.
How can one reading, or anything really, bring both joy and sorrow?
For a while now, I have been enduring a chronic illness. Part of me wants to avoid the pain, but when I ignore it, it only seems to get worse. What if Mary avoided the sword that would one day pierce her heart? What good would have come from that?
Suffering and pain are inescapable realities of our fallen world. I can’t expect a life free of suffering, because even Jesus didn’t live without suffering. Nor did He spare His own mother from sadness and sorrow.
Mary endures suffering by trusting completely in God. It is as simple and as difficult as that. In her unwavering trust, she shows us how to not only accept, but also embrace, the sufferings in our life. Then and only then can we also experience joy beyond measure.
Mary’s proclamation of “the greatness of the Lord” and her joy “in God my savior” didn’t cease, because of her sorrow (Luke 1:47-47). Rather, “Mary kept all these things” (the joyful and the sorrowful), “reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
Mary’s example gives us courage to endure our own sufferings by putting our total trust in God. Like Mary, when we embrace the sorrow and endure the suffering, God will bless us with a joyful and peaceful heart.
How does this Gospel story, which is marked with joy and sorrow, give you courage to accept suffering in your life with a joyful heart?
Lord, give me the grace I need to embrace my sufferings, like Mary did. Help me to trust Your plan and recognize that there can be joy in the midst of suffering. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Sarah Damm
Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mother of six children. She spends her days running errands, cooking meals and helping with homework. She and her husband Greg strive to weave the Catholic faith into their daily lives and family celebrations. Sarah serves as book club specialist for WINE: Women in the New Evangelization. She also writes at sarahdamm.com.