Homily (Reflection) for the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church (21st May, 2018) on the Gospel and the Feast
Gen 3:9-15.20 or Acts 1:12-14;
Ps 87:1-2,3,5,6-7. (R. v.3);
In Roman Catholic Mariology, Mother of the Church is a title, officially given to Mary during the Second Vatican Council by Pope Paul VI. The title was first used in the 4th century by Saint Ambrose of Milan, as rediscovered by Hugo Rahner. It was also used by Pope Benedict XIV in 1748 and Pope Leo XIII in 1885. The title was also used by Pope Saint John Paul II and is also found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pope Saint John Paul II stated that overall the title indicates the Blessed Virgin Mary's maternity of Christ’s faithful, as deriving from her maternity of Christ in that “Mary is present in the Church as the Mother of Christ, and at the same time as that Mother whom Christ, in the mystery of the Redemption, gave to humanity in the person of the Apostle John (cf. Jn 19:27). Thus, in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church”. In 2018, Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be inserted into the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost (Whit Monday) and to be celebrated every year. The decree was signed on 11th February 2018, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, at the 160th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions. It was issued on 3rd March 2018.
Topic: Here is your mother (Jn 19:27).
In today’s gospel pericope, hanging on the cross,
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home (Jn 19:26-27)
It is worth noting that Saint John (beloved disciple) represented the whole church at the foot of the cross. Again, he was standing next to or very close to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus referred to His disciples as His brothers, cf. Matt 28:10. Mary was devoted to prayer together with the apostles and other disciples, cf. Acts 1:14.
However, some are not comfortable seeing Mary recognized as mother by any Christian. How can one explain to these that the woman they hate so much is their mother?
In the book of Revelation, we read: “And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children – all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus” (Rev 12:17, NLT). This implies that whoever truly keeps God’s commandments and maintain his/her testimony for Jesus is a child of Mary because she is that woman whose other children “keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus”. We must be grateful to God for allowing us to be called His children and the children of Mary and that is what we are, cf. 1Jn 3:1; Rev 12:17. She does in no way as some think block our access to God instead she encourages us to do whatever He tells us, cf. Jn 2:5.
Bible Reading: Rev 12:13-17; Jn 8:31-59.
Thought for today: Who is your mother?
Let us pray: Lord, help us to appreciate the gift of Mary in our lives and the life of the church – Amen.
Mary, Mother of the Church – Pray for us.
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