Monday, 1 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, and St. Justin, Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as the whole Church all of us celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God, who is also the Mother of the Church, or Mater Ecclesiae. Pope Francis declared this day after the Pentecost Sunday as this Feast approximately over two years ago and this is the third time that we are celebrating this feast of Mary, Our Lady and Mother of the Church. But we must not then think that this title of the Mother of the Church as a modern invention or something new to our faith.

On the contrary, Mary has been known as the Mother of the Church since the earliest days of the Church along with the other titles like Theotokos or the Mother of God (or God-Bearer). Mary always had that special position within the Church and among Christians, and many always sought her intercession and help for their various needs, and the various devotions towards her rose and became popular over the centuries.

What then, is the Scriptural foundation of this Marian title and our devotion to her as the Mother of the Church? It is exactly what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, recounting to us the very moment just before our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ was about to die on the Cross for our salvation. Mary, His mother as well as His beloved disciple, St. John the Apostle was by the side of His Cross as He was about to offer His life and die for our sins.

It was at that moment that the Lord then entrusted to St. John, His own mother Mary to be under his care, while at the same time, He also entrusted St. John to the care of His mother Mary. It may seem to be quite strange that such double-entrustment happened, but if we understand the significance of this event and the importance of Mary to us Christians and the Church, then we will understand clearly why the Lord did as He did that day as He was hanging from the Cross.

St. John the Apostle in fact signifies and symbolises the Church, that is all of us Christians, as our representative in this new relationship we have with Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. After all, the Church was established by Our Lord Himself and is His by right, and everything belongs to Him. If we call Mary as the Mother of God, then it makes perfect sense for her to be also accorded the title of the Mother of the Church.

We honour Mary as such with this title because first and foremost, she is truly the greatest of all the role models in faith that we have, greater than all the other saints, holy men and women of God. It was her faith, her dedication and commitment, her virtuous and pure life, dedicated solely to the greater glory of God that are such great inspirations for us, that for the many centuries after, the Church has accorded to her such honours and encouraged us Christians to follow in her examples and good life.

And because she is the Mother of the Church, our loving Mother, surely all of us as her beloved adopted children ought to listen to her and follow her good examples? Just as at Cana in Galilee where the Lord Jesus performed His very first miracle, in turning the water into wine, the Lord Himself listened to the pleas made by His mother Mary for help on behalf of the wedding couple in distress. And Mary at that same time also told the servants to listen to her Son and ‘do whatever He tells you to do’.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, that is exactly what we need to do as well in our own lives. Our mother is telling us and has always told us to listen to her Son, to follow Him and to be good Christians in our daily living. Are we able to listen to our mother’s advice and follow her good examples and faith? She has appeared many times to various people over time, all with reminders and call to everyone to return back to her Son and to repent from our sinful ways.

Today, as we honour Mary as our beloved mother and the Mother of the Church, let us all then listen to her and follow her own good examples and dedicate ourselves in walking down the path of faith from now on. Let us all entrust ourselves to the Blessed Mother’s care, and follow the Lord together with her leading the way. Let us all therefore continue our journey in faith and do what we have been called to do, to be faithful witnesses of the Lord’s truth, salvation and Resurrection.

May the Lord continue to guide us and give us the strength and courage to persevere in faith through life. May He bless us in all of our efforts and good endeavours, from now on. O Mary, Holy Mother of God and Mother of the Church, pray for us sinners, your beloved children, that your Son may continue to give us His strength to follow your good examples in faith, for each and every moments of our lives. Amen.

Monday, 1 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, and St. Justin, Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

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, 1 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, and St. Justin, Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

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, 1 June 2020 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, and St. Justin, Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

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.

Alternative reading

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these, together, gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women, and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Monday, 10 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate for the second time the celebration of Mary, the Mother of the Church after Pope Francis the Vicar of Christ declared that the day after the Solemnity of the Pentecost as the Feast of Mary, the Mother of the Church. This honour and appellation given to Mary had been done from the ancient times, right from the beginning of the Church.

Why is that so? That is because if we believe that the Church came from God, from Jesus Christ Himself Who has established the Church, and Who is indeed considered the True Head of the Church, then how can we not consider Mary who is the mother of Our Lord and therefore the mother of God as the mother of the Church too? It is only logical that we should regard her as the mother of the Church.

In today’s Gospel reading, we heard of the exchange between the Lord Jesus, His mother Mary and His disciple St. John the Apostle, which would become the Scriptural basis of today’s celebration, for at that moment just before the Lord laid down His life He entrusted His mother Mary to the care of St. John, His beloved disciple and reciprocated it with the entrusting of St. John himself to the care of His mother Mary.

By that action, the whole Church, represented by the Apostle St. John, had been entrusted to Mary, to be its mother just as much as the Lord Himself said to St. John, “Here is your mother”. Mary is truly the mother of the Church, the one whom God Himself had entrusted to care and look after His Church, constantly praying for our sake and watching over us from heaven with loving eyes and thoughts for each and every one of us.

In Mary, we see the perfect example of faith, one that helped to overcome the original sin of man by her perfect obedience and commitment to God, as opposed to what we heard in our first reading today, of the downfall of man into sin, as the first of our ancestors, Adam and Eve, succumbed to the temptations of the evil one and disobeyed God for their own selfish desire, pride and greed. Mary instead showed humility, obedience and love for God.

And she has always been with the Apostles and the disciples during the earliest days of the Church, watching over them and caring for them, and praying constantly for the sake of God’s beloved people. And even after she had been assumed into her heavenly glory, she still continued to be our greatest advocate, being the one nearest to her Son’s Throne, and appearing many times throughout history to many people, calling them all to repentance and to be forgiven from their sins.

Mary, her faith and dedication to God and His Church, and her love and tender care for all the members of the Church, that is all of us truly makes her worthy to be called as our mother, and as the mother of the Church. She is truly the one whom we can turn to at the moments when we encounter challenges and difficulties in life, and whenever we feel that there is no one else we can turn to.

Through Mary, we can reach out to her Son, Our Lord Jesus, and through her, and by following her good examples, commitment, dedication and faith, we too can become even closer and be worthy of God and His salvation. Let us all deepen our love for God and for His mother Mary, and be more like her in her exemplary faith and life. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 10 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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, 10 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

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, 10 June 2019 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady, Mother of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Alternative reading

Acts 1 : 12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olives, which is a fifteen minute walk away. On entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were staying. Present there were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus; Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James.

All of these, together, gave themselves to constant prayer. With them were some women, and also Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

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.