Yesterday we were privileged to have a Holy Cross Cardinal from Bangladesh join us for our feast day, Our Lady of Sorrows. I’m sure his visit will be memorable for a variety of reasons, but one reason will stand out. During his homily he spoke of the seven sorrows of Mary; but he managed to find a silver lining in each of the seven sorrows.
He reminded us that the household of God is a pilgrim of people on its way. Joy, more than sorrow, lights the way. Upon further reflection of his comments, I was reminded of what Bishop Sheehan once said:
The Cross reveals that unless there is a Good Friday in our lives, there will never be an Easter Sunday. Unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be the halo of light. Unless there is the scourged body, there will never be a glorified one.
The truth that joy more than sorrow lights the way is so vividly conveyed in the Scriptures today, particularly in the Gospel where Jesus was invited to supper at the house of a Pharisee named Simon.
Often these occasions ended up being times when comments were passed, discussions had, and invariably the attempt was made to trap Jesus.
Such was the case with the women who was present on this occasion. She was known to some, and her reputation was not the best. She proceeded to weep, wash Jesus' feet with her tears, and anoint him with an expensive perfume.
Someone at table asked, "Doesn’t Jesus know who she is?"
Of course He did.
But she evidenced contrition and sorrow. Joy more than sorrow lights the way. Once again Jesus could express satisfaction; joy in finding someone who extended a welcoming kiss, offered to wash a guest’s feet, and anoint his head with oil. In response to her actions, He brought her joy, and said, "Your sins are forgiven."
Every day somewhere in the world people in sorrow are finding joy. They have encountered Jesus in the confessional. Some arrive burdened with sorrow, some weep, and once absolved, experience joy.
To the Simons of our world Jesus has something to tell us.
Sinners can have great love.
And Jesus is ready to respond to that love wherever and whenever He finds it.
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About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!