Monday, 21 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate for the first time the feast of Mary, in her aspect as the Mother of the Church. This celebration was just promulgated earlier this year by our Pope, Francis, in the recognition of the title and honour which Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God, has been accorded since the most ancient of times.

Since the earliest days of the Church, Mary has been recognised as a very important person in the Church, and definitely, if she has been recognised as the Mother of God, then it makes just perfect sense that she is also the Mother of the Church, for Jesus Christ, is the Head of the Church, and hence, because she is His mother, she is also the mother of the whole entire Church.

Today, we recall Mary’s role in the history of our salvation and in the history of the Church. Mary is mother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and by that virtue she is the Mother of God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the moment of the Annunciation. Then, at the Pentecost, which we have just celebrated yesterday, Mary also received the Holy Spirit together with the other disciples of the Lord, at the moment when the Church was established.

And thus, Mary is a figure, by the virtue of her divine motherhood, and by the virtue of her pious and wholly dedicated life to God, is the mother of all of us, the mother of the Church of God. She is that perfect role model for all of us, as we look upon her examples in faith. She is, after all, the one who is the closest to her Son, the greatest one among all the saints, and our greatest intercessor.

This complements perfectly the role of St. Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord, who is known as the Protector of the Church. Just as St. Joseph protected the Holy Family and the young Jesus from harm, and thus, symbolically linked to his role as the Protector of the universal Church, then Mary, as the mother of the Lord and thus as the mother figure of the Holy Family, is the mother of the Church.

And how important is it for us to understand the role that Mary has as the mother of the Church? It is important, because by knowing her motherhood, we can be assured of her love, care and attention when we are in need and when we look to her for assistance. A mother will not abandon her child, no matter what sacrifices it may take her to do so. A mother who abandons her child or does not care about the child, is not worthy of being called a mother.

As such, she always looks upon us all, her beloved children, with great and tender care. In our Gospel passage today, we heard of how the Lord Jesus entrusted to her, St. John, His disciple, and then entrusted him to her care as well. Through this act, the Lord symbolically and in reality, entrusted to Mary, the whole Church, all the faithful to her care, and similarly, He entrusted her to us.

That is why, if we look throughout history of our faith, we can see just how many times Mary appeared to us, to the people, in Lourdes and Fatima, and in many other occasions, in order to remind us about the importance of being faithful to God, and how we need to have an interior conversion towards the Lord, and repent from our sins. Otherwise, because of our sins, it is likely that we will end up falling from our faith, and which mother wants to see her son or daughter lost from her?

That is again, why Mary is ever so active, at calling many of us to return to her Son, Our Lord Jesus and the salvation which He had promised all those who are faithful to Him. Now that we realise we have such a great ally on our side, a loving and caring mother, who is always rooting for us and caring for us, praying for us constantly at all times, then why should we not use this great opportunity given to us?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore ask Mary, our beloved mother and the mother of our Church, to pray for us and to continue to watch over us, that we will continue to be faithful to our calling as Christians, to be dedicated and to be committed in our faith, that we will not fall into temptation and into the path of sin. May the Lord bless us all, and may He continue to be with us, together with His blessed mother Mary, our loving mother. Amen.

Monday, 21 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 9 : 14-29

At that time, when Jesus and His disciples, Peter, James and John came to the place where they had left the disciples, they saw many people around them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished and ran to greet Him.

He asked, “What are you arguing about with them?” A man answered Him from the crowd, “Master, I brought my son to You, for he has a spirit, deaf and mute. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes stiff all over. I asked Your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”

Jesus replied, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me.” And the brought the boy to Him. As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it shook and convulsed the boy, who fell on the ground, and began rolling about, foaming at the mouth.

Then Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “From childhood. And it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water to destroy him. If You can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you say, ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe, but help the little faith I have.” Jesus saw that the crowd was increasing rapidly, so He ordered the evil spirit, “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you : Leave the boy and never enter him again.”

The evil spirit shook and convulsed the boy and with a terrible shriek came out. The boy lay like a corpse and people said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him and the boy stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not drive out the spirit?”

And He answered, “Only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else.”

Alternative reading (Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church)

John 19 : 25-34

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Jesus knew all was now finished and, in order to fulfil what was written in Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of bitter wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a twig of hyssop, they raised it to His lips. Jesus took the wine and said, “It is accomplished.” Then He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit.

As it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus.

When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out Blood and water.

Monday, 21 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 15

The Law of YHVH is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of YHVH is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of YHVH are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of YHVH are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of YHVH is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of YHVH are true, all of them just and right.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favour in Your sight, o YHVH – my Redeemer, my Rock!

Alternative reading (Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church)

Psalm 86 : 1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7

He Himself has built it in His holy mountain; YHVH prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns.

Great things have been foretold of you, o city of God. But of Zion, it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And YHVH notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for you.

Monday, 21 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

James 3 : 13-18

If you consider yourself wise and learnt, show it by your good life, and let your actions, in all humility, be an example for others. But if your heart is full of bitter jealousy, and ambition, do not try to show off; that would be covering up the truth; this kind of wisdom does not come from above, but from the world, and it is earthly and devilish.

Wherever there is jealousy and ambition, you will also find discord, and all that is evil. Instead, the wisdom that comes from above is pure and peace-loving. Persons with this wisdom show understanding, and listen to advice; they are full of compassion and good works; they are impartial and sincere. Peacemakers, who sow peace, reap a harvest of justice?

Alternative reading (Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church)

Genesis 3 : 9-15, 20

YHVH God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?”

The man answered, “The woman You put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

YHVH God said to the serpent, “Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”

The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.