May 21, 2018
(The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church)
. . the LORD God said to the serpent: . . . I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living. Gn_3:9-15,20
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. Jn_19:25-34
So here we are, the day after Pentecost, the end of the Easter Season, the 7th Week of Ordinary Time, and Deacon Joe is still vested in white and we’re talking about Mary.
So what’s the deal?
Well, if you were frantically trying to find these Readings in your Missal, and couldn’t, don’t feel too bad, because today we’re making History! And we are ALL a part of it!
You see, on February 11 of this year, an important arm of the Roman Curia at the Vatican, called the “Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,” inscribed a new, obligatory Memorial into the General Roman Calendar, celebrating the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of the Church.
The obligatory nature of this new Memorial deems that its celebration take precedence throughout the Universal Church, EVERY year, on the Monday following Pentecost. Thus today, different than ever before, we join together with the entire world in recognizing the Spiritual Maternity of Mary, as the Mother of God’s people, the Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Mother of the Church.
And it’s not that this is a new concept, because Mary has been called the “Mother of the Church” from ages past and recognized as such by popes and theologians. But now we have a day especially dedicated for that title.
So how do we tackle this HUGE, mysterious, extremely theological, and extremely deep topic of the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary?
My first thought was to leave it at Jn_16:12, where Jesus said, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” And I know that our time is short. But I didn’t think you’d all want to let it go at that, otherwise you would not have even come this morning. So let’s see what we can do about that.
You know, it’s funny, but there’s something about human nature that drives us to community when extraordinary events bring us together: People stuck in an elevator, War Veterans and College Graduates, even this past week, we had survivors of a Florida school shooting uniting in communion with those from Texas.
And then, if we want to get Biblical, we have generations and generations of descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, united through 400-years of slavery and a miraculous deliverance through Moses. And if they survived multiple additional periods of exile and slavery, they were still united as Israelites, Hebrews, or Jews for thousands of years later.
And the prime, uniting cause of their union, the Force Majeure, of all those saving events, is God. Not the gods of wood and stone and philosophers, who came and went like the wind. But ONE Creating God, who even in-Himself is a Community of Father, Son and Spirit.
Now we’re all familiar with the Creation Story of God’s Love. And how God gave Adam and Eve the gifts of intelligence and free will.
And we also know that nowhere else in human existence has man or woman ever been created from dirt, from nothing. You see, ever since Eve was created by God as the “Mother of the Living,” new life could only originate from existing life.
And with all of her intelligence and free will, when given the chance, Eve chose death over life, suffering over paradise, exile over eternal residence with God. And she began the creation of a community, a progeny, bound together by that EVENT, that Choice. Sin and separation from God became our DNA.
And Eve, under the influence of Satan, became – the “Mother of Death.” And it all seemed so hopeless. EXCEPT! Except God, in His great mercy and love, left Eve with an Oracle, a Prophesy, an Escape Clause. He said that a descendant of hers, whom God called, “the Woman” would have a child who could change it all. The Jewish world called Him the Messiah or the Savior. And through Him, they believed that death, and exile, and slavery would be no more.
Did you ever notice how Jesus never calls His Mother “Mom?” in the Scriptures? But when He does address her, like at the Wedding in Cana, or here, on the Cross, He calls her “Woman.”
You see, John was very clear in making the point, through his Gospel, that this Mary was “THE Woman” that God was referring to ever since the beginning of all humanity. And it was all leading to an EVENT that would have the ability to reunite all of Creation again; not only with God, but with one another – as Community!
A new “Woman.”
A new Eve.
A new, life-giving Mother.
A Spiritual Mother to all who choose life, instead of death.
In His last few, dying breaths, Jesus said to His Mother, at the foot of the Cross, “Woman behold your son.”
And to John, that “beloved disciple,” John, who represented EVERY ‘beloved disciple’ of all Humanity from that moment and for all eternity; to all of us, Jesus said, “Behold your Mother”
From the instant that Mary, the unblemished Ark of the New Covenant, accepted her call, at the Annunciation, as the Mother of Jesus, she began her mission as the Spiritual Mother of all humanity: The Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ, our Church.
And she lived the example of perfect motherhood for all mothers who ever succeeded her.
And after His glorious sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus consecrated that Church in the Sacred Blood of Communion and the Holy Water of Baptism; the Blood of His humanity and the Water of ‘new life in the Spirit’ from His most Sacred Heart of Love, with Mary our Mother nurturing and interceding, guiding and uniting all of us and . . .
always reminding us of our “true home” with God forever.
Today we celebrate an EVENT that not only unites us in communion with one another – as beloved disciples of Jesus, His Church, under the loving care of Mary our Mother, but it also calls us to bring a world of lost souls, all of God’s children, back together and home with God.
May Mary our Mother, the Mother of our Church, protect us and lead us always – to Her Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.
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