Greetings in Christ,
Sunday, March 25th is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. It also happens to be the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord. The Annunciation recalls the day when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary to proclaim to her that she has been chosen to bear the Son of God.
Now Mary watches as her Son is welcomed into Jerusalem by cheering multitudes, waving palm branches and shouting 'Hosanna! Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!' Even as she witnesses this celebration of her Son, the words of Simeon spoken to her over thirty years before, 'This Child is set for the rising and falling of many in Israel. And a sword shall pierce your soul also.' haunts her soul.
Perhaps Mary watched all this with a sense of foreboding as her Son enters Jerusalem, a foreboding that could not grasp what was to come, but knew that the life and ministry of Jesus was coming to its climax. Perhaps she dreaded what lay before her as the child she had carried in her womb, to whom she gave birth, loved and raised was going to face his death on the cross.
The anguish of Mary at the foot of the cross is a reflection of the agony of God the Father as His only Son suffers and dies for the sin of the world. What for us can too easily become a part of the turning of the seasons of the Church year, was for Mary and the Father, a heartrending event.
We began Lent hearing from the prophet Joel that the Lord desires that we rend our hearts and not our garments. We heard that the suffering and death of Jesus is real suffering, real death, for us that we might receive the mercy of the Father.
The path to the Joy of the Resurrection is always through the suffering and innocent death of Jesus on the Cross. We may not be able to imagine the pain of God the Father's heart might have been, but we can identify with the pain in Mary's heart as her Son dies.
Both the Father and the Theotokos, the Mother of our Lord, bore the pain of their Son's death so that death might no longer have a claim on us. Let our joy this Easter find it's fullness as we recall the cost of our salvation.