Homily for the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church
As I mentioned at the beginning of Mass this morning, today we celebrate the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church. It is a feast that is very much intimately connected to the Feast of Pentecost. From our Catholic tradition, we know that the Blessed Mother was present in the upper room when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles – that is the instance that we recognize as the birthday of the Church.
Just as the Blessed Mother was present for every major moment in the life of her son, Jesus, so, too, is she there for every moment of the Church’s life.
Mary was present when the incarnation was announced. She was the first to receive the good news of Jesus’ birth. She was with Jesus throughout His hidden life in Jerusalem. Mary was there pushing Jesus to begin His public ministry at the Wedding Feast at Cana. We read of her following Jesus as He moved from place to place. Finally, we read of how she went to Jerusalem during the final days of Jesus’ life. We know from the Gospel of John that she stood at the foot of the cross as her son was crucified. When Jesus said to Mary, “Woman, behold your son,” and “Behold your Mother,” to the beloved disciple –it was in that moment that Mary became our mother.
Jesus placed all of us into the loving care of Mary. She looks at each of us as her children. And because of that, we know that she is present at various moments of our lives and at every moment in the life of the Church. She is present at every single Mass. She is with us when we walk into the confessional. She wraps us in her protection when we are struggling or when we are suffering an illness. She comforts us in our sorrows. She shares our joys, our triumphs, our tragedies. Like every good mother, Mary is always with her children. That is what we celebrate today.
So as we approach the altar to receive her son in the Eucharist this morning, let’s pause and simply give thanks to God for the great gift of our Blessed Mother. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.