Grace to you!
We’re back to the ordinary time of the year, after the Pentecost Sunday celebration yesterday. I hope you were invigorated to continue living the life of Christ and bearing witness to the good news of his saving grace.
Today, we celebrate the memorial of Mary, the Mother of the Church. This is the newest feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary decreed by the Holy Father Pope Francis to be included in the Catholic Roman Calendar, Missal and Divine Office. It is to be celebrated every first day after Pentecost Sunday. Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, published the news on 3 March 2018.
We celebrate Mary as the Mother of the Church. She is our mother because Jesus is our brother. She is our mother because Jesus is our Lord and God. I wasn’t shy to call the precious woman who bore me my mom. It would be strange for anyone not to do so. Also, I don’t feel shy to call a woman who has adopted me as her son in the USA mom too. I’m certainly not shy to call Mary the Mother of my Lord and Savior my mother.
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I count myself among the beloved of the Lord. I see myself like John, the beloved. I see myself like that apostle who the Lord loved so much. I hope you, as a believer in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, do too.
A particular quotation comes to my mind as I reflect on this privilege of seeing myself as a loved child of God. It is that description about the love of Jesus for all the believers. The Gospel of John writes that Jesus loved his own in the world to the end (Jn 13:1). We read all through Scripture how much Jesus loves us.
We are among those the Lord has chosen, in accord with his richness. Scripture says, he chose us in him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4).
What the Lord Jesus did at the foot of the cross as reported in the Gospel of John is precious to me and my faith life. He looked down as if from heaven and sees Mary his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near. He says to the mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then to the beloved disciple, “Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:26-27). Right there is the Lord’s special gift of a mom to all the beloved of his, those who are his disciples.
Why did Scripture write about this event describing John the beloved as the “loved disciple” instead of the “loved apostle” as common in many other parts of the Gospel? Why also, in this scenario, did Jesus call Mary “Woman” instead of mother?
Could it be that describing him as the beloved apostle in that setting, one may imagine that the symbolism reserves Mary’s motherhood only to the college of the apostles? If so, then it will belong to those whose roles are in the line of the apostles, those in top church leadership—bishops. But because the Lord wants us all, the disciples, to be part of his mom’s life since we are his brothers and sisters, he calls the beloved “the disciple.”
He calls his mom woman, because this particular woman, Mary, is the fulfillment of the prophesies about the “new Eve.” She is the woman of whom Scripture says right from the beginning, is the one through whose child redemption is to be given to the world (Gen 3:15).
I take mother Mary as my mother. She is the mother of the church. She is the mother of our Lord and our mother too. She is that mother closest to the Lord and an integral part of the early Church. Her intimacy with the Lord as his mother from conception through his early life and maturity, at the foot of the Cross, during the resurrection and clearly at the Upper Room when the Church was born at the time the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, is self-evident.
In my personal spiritual life, Mother Mary has not failed me. Closeness to her has deepened my relationship with the Lord through grace. She has been a special support in my work of prayers and evangelization. For instance, daily I receive prayer petitions from people all over the world asking for intercessions. I count it a privilege. However, I know I can do nothing to find answers to their needs. Only God can. So, I take their petitions to God. Many times, I find those petitions that seem too difficult to crack, have come through miraculously when I ask Mother Mary to carry those prayer points on my behalf to her Son and my Lord Jesus Christ.
I salute Mother Mary with that greeting of the angel (Lk 1:28). I chant to her that song of the redeemed. When I do so, her Son, Jesus the Lord, is glorified because he sees in my heart the deep love for that mom through whom he chose to take flesh.
I cherish everything about the Blessed Virgin Mary because God delighted in her first. Who am I not to bless whom God had blessed among all women?
Mary, my mama, and the mother of the Church assist me to discover the tender love and grace of the Holy Spirt through whom you bore your Son, Jesus Christ the Lord. Accompany me as mom to know those hidden things about Jesus, those things about a child only moms know.
Love you Mother Mary. Love you Jesus, my Lord and Savior.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[A Day after Pentecost, Memorial of Mary the Mother of the Church: Readings Gen 3:9-15, 20 or Acts 1:12-14; Jn 19:25-34]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.