Friday, 5 August 2016 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Dedication of a Basilica)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great feast in the memory of the dedication of one of the greatest churches of Christendom, one of the major Papal Basilicas in the holy city of Rome, one devoted to the Blessed Mother of the Lord, Mary herself, in her persona as the protector of the city of Rome, known also as St. Mary Major, Santa Maria Maggiore or as our Lady of the Snows.

It was told that one fine day at the time when Christianity was just tolerated by the Roman Empire, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, an elderly couple John and his wife vowed to donate their possessions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, having no heir of their own to inherit their properties. They prayed to the Blessed Virgin that she might show them the way how to properly dispose that property in her care.

And she showed it through the miracle of snows that fell during the height of summer, on this exact day, the fifth day of August, on one of the hills of Rome, where the elderly couple initiated the building of the great Basilica with the help and support of the Emperor, which had since then became a great church and a great place of contemplation, dedicated to the mother of our Lord and God, protector of God’s beloved people.

This is one of the example of how the mother of our Lord has always on the lookout for us the people loved by her own Son, Jesus Christ. She has watched over us and prayed for us, that we may find our way out of the darkness of this world and enter into the light of our Lord, forever to be granted the salvation and the eternal life that God bestows on His faithful ones alone.

She is a great ally to all of us, having shown us how to be faithful to the Lord in her own ways. She has been faithful to the Lord, obedient in all of her ways, devoting her entire life to serve the Lord, and faithfully stayed by the side of her Son, all the way from the time she conceived Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, and all the way through His life on earth until He ascended the hill of Calvary to His death.

And despite her doubts, fears and uncertainties, she persevered on and continued to help her Son in His works to save the whole world and all mankind. And thus, she became a the great beacon and guiding light, the example for all mankind to follow, the perfect role model on how to become a faithful servant and follower of our Lord.

And thus as we celebrate together this great feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, let us all learn to be more like Mary, the mother of our Lord, in how she had been ever faithful, in how she lived a life filled with dedication and commitment to the mission which had been entrusted to her. Indeed, hers was the special role that was greater than any other missions which we have, but each and every one of us also have that mission, to live our lives faithfully as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord and live according to His ways.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and renew our commitment to Him through not just words alone, but also through real action. And this means that we should love one another just as He has loved us in the first place. Let us all follow the example of Mary, His mother, who is our greatest intercessor and defender, the one who can help us to reach out to the salvation found in our Lord Jesus alone.

May our Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Lady of Snows, bless us all and may she be ever loving to us, keeping us all under her watchful care, that through her we may find that clear path to the eternal life which her Son has promised all those who are faithful to Him. God bless us all. Amen.

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