Wiping away Every Tear
(5th Sunday of Easter: Acts 14:21-27; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-35)
When we see someone crying, our first instinct is, often, to wonder what is the matter and, perhaps not often enough, to wonder whether we can or should do something to ease the pain or grief that lies behind the tears.
Those who are sometimes puzzled or even offended by Mary’s words at La Salette need to remember the tears that accompanied them. One and the same sorrow is at the source of both.
In today’s gospel Jesus offers the ultimate key to consoling the disconsolate. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” If only we could all live this new commandment perfectly! Not only would we do everything in our power to respond to all the suffering around us and in the world at large, but we would likewise devote our best efforts to eliminating the root causes of so much unhappiness.
Like Paul and Barnabas in the second reading, we would recognize that “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” But these hardships are different from the suffering that leads to despair. They are endured out of love, and in the midst of them the disciples of Jesus can support one another. More than once Jesus made it clear that his disciples could not expect an easy life.
Mary at La Salette wept for—and with—her people as she looked on their sins and hardships. Moved by the same love that moved her Son, she responded in her maternal way. She cannot make all our troubles disappear, but she offers a way through them, a way of trust, of hope, of faith.
No one person can do everything, but each can do something, however simple, in communion with the Lord, to "make all things new."
The best-known English hymn to Our Lady of La Salette has the refrain:
I long to dry thy tears,
To make thy message known,
Of penance, prayer and zeal,
Until God calls me home.
One way to dry her tears is to look through her eyes on her people’s suffering, and then do our part to “wipe away every tear from their eyes.”