Homily (Reflection) for the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church (24th May, 2021) on the Gospel and the Feast
Ps 87. (R. v.3);
In Roman Catholic Mariology, Mother of the Church is a title officially given to Mary by Pope Paul VI. It was first used in the 4th century by Saint Ambrose of Milan, as rediscovered by Hugo Rahner. This title was also used by Pope Benedict XIV in 1748 and by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Pope John Paul II placed it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and 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 and to be celebrated every year. The decree was signed on February 11, 2018, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, at the 160th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions. It was issued on March 3, 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. Again, according to Pope Paul VI, Mary is the “Mother of the Church because she gave birth to Christ” who is the head of the Church, cf. Eph 5:23; Col 1:18. Hence, during the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council on November 21, 1964, he said, “We declare Mary Most Holy Mother of the Church, that is, of all the Christian people”.
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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