Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate both the occasion of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, the well known preacher and saint whose devotion is widespread even until now amongst the faithful.
On this day, we commemorate the loving and sacred heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord, which is celebrated very closely to that of her Son’s Heart, for the two indeed were very, very close. Not only that she was His mother, but she had also gone through a lot of things with Him together, and she also lived with Him and followed Him during much of His earthly ministry.
It began since just a few days after Jesus was born, and Mary brought Him to present Him at the Temple. The prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna met them, and there the prophecy regarding Mary was mentioned, that a sword would pierce her heart. This is a foreshadowing of the fact that when Jesu went through His Passion on the way to Calvary, Mary was there, and she was there too on the feet of His cross, watching how her Son is dying for the sake of the world.
No mother should ever see her own child dying before her. But Mary endured all that patiently and quietly. She was truly sorrowful and anguished, but she kept everything in her heart. The same she had done when she was told of the prophecy earlier, she kept everything in her heart. She also kept everything in her heart when we heard in the Gospel today, that Jesus was left behind in the Temple of Jerusalem, He mentioned that He must be in the house of His Father.
Have we taken note, brothers and sisters in Christ? Mary and her heart is so immaculate and pure, that she does not complain or make any issue, when she encountered all these things, from the time when she received the Good News from the Archangel Gabriel, to the prophecy of her sorrow, to the time when Jesus was left at the Temple, to the time when she followed her Son in His ministry, and eventually until when she met Him on that day when He took up the cross, and followed Him to the feet of His cross.
We can imagine how strong and wonderful her heart is, for her to take everything up and endured them in her heart. She suffered in silence, in her sorrow, and she looked up to see the face of her beloved Son. And in the same way therefore she is now looking at us, for many of us are in the danger of falling into eternal damnation in hell for our sins and lack of repentance.
Jesus gave Mary to be our mother too, just as she is His mother. From the cross, Jesus entrusted Mary to John, and He also entrusted John to His mother Mary. In this manner, by the representation of John, God entrusted all of us mankind to the loving care of His mother Mary. Thus, the same pain and sorrow which she had experienced for her Son, she also experienced for us.
If we are wondering why so many of the Marian apparitions and visions occur in the world, if we understand what I had just mentioned, all of it will make perfect sense. Mary through various means continues to watch over us and she is always thinking about us. As she is the closest one to the throne of her Son in heaven, indeed we have no better person, be it men or angels, to ask for help, so that we may be freed from the depredations of evil and sin.
Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, a renowned preacher who lived during the High Middle Ages in what is now Italy. St. Anthony of Padua worked hard in his devotion to the Lord, to bring the truth of God to the people, casting out heresies and redeeming people who had lived in the darkness. He was also renowned for his great homilies that he was famously known for having a ‘golden tongue’.
Through his works many people found their way back to God, and many of them found the truth through him. St. Anthony never ceased working for the good of many in the Church, just as what our Blessed mother Mary had done for us, by reminding us again and again, to repent from our sinful ways and hearken ourselves to the words of truth found only in God. Let us be inspired by the examples of the works of St. Anthony of Padua.
Threfore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today pray and ask for the intercession of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and the mother of all of us. Let us plead to her most immaculate and loving heart, which is filled with the love of a mother for her children. May our mother pray for us always before her Son, our most loving and merciful God, so that our sins may be forgiven, and may all of us be awakened to our sins, realising how great is the love that both He and His mother have for us. God bless us all. Amen.