May 16, 2021

This month of May is traditionally the month where we Catholics honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is appropriate that we also celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday. Mary is the mother of the Church and our own mother in a very special way.

In her “yes” she cooperated with God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to become the mother of the Savior. During this Easter Season, we celebrate the new life that is given to all of us in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin Mary was the instrument of God’s love coming among us in flesh and blood, and so we honor her for her yes.

We also honor her for the ongoing “yes” in her life as she became the first and model disciple of her Son. While she said yes at the very beginning of his human life, she also said yes over and over again as she followed him all the way to the cross and beyond.

St. John’s Gospel describes her presence at the foot of the cross and St. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, describes her ongoing presence with the early Church. She shows us how to follow the Lord Jesus as a faithful disciple.

St. Luke, in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, writes that “All these (the Apostles of Jesus) devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus…”

This presence of Mary with the followers of Jesus after the resurrection echoes the mutual entrusting of Mary to the Beloved Disciple and the Beloved Disciple to Mary at the foot of the cross in St. John’s Gospel. We heard this passage on Good Friday: “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (John 19:25-26).

We can imagine how comforting and inspiring Mary’s presence must have been for the early Church. For the last two thousand years, her presence in the Church and among believers has continued to comfort and inspire us.

On Monday, May 24th, the day after Pentecost, the Church throughout the world celebrates the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. This feast was introduced to the Universal Church calendar in 2018 at the request of Pope Francis to be celebrated each year on the Monday after Pentecost. A pastoral note about this feast describes “the joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on his nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal. 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church” (2021 Ordo, p. 143).

As we move toward the end of the Easter Season and the great celebration of Pentecost next Sunday, may we call upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to continue to accompany us on our pilgrim journey. May her example of faithful discipleship strengthen us and help us to imitate her single-minded devotion to her Son, Jesus Christ our Risen Lord!

God Bless,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni