June 10, 2019

Mother of the Church

June 10, 2019:  Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

See 16 connections with today?
Legend below
  • Gn 3:9-15,20  "You've eaten the fruit I forbade you to eat!"  The Lord said to the serpent:
    "You shall be banned and eat dirt.  I'll put enmity between you and the woman,

    between your offspring and hers."  Eve became the mother of all the living.
  • Acts 1:12-14  After Jesus had been taken up to heaven, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem, went to the upper room, and devoted themselves to prayer, together with some women, Mary, and his brothers.

  • Ps 87:1-3,5-7  "Glorious things are told of you, O city of God."  They shall say, "All were born in her, and the Lord established her.  All shall sing, "My home is within you."
  • Jn 19:25-34  At the cross Jesus told his mother, "Behold, your son," and the disciple, "Behold, your mother."  The disciple took her into his home.  Jesus said, "I thirst," drank from a vessel of common wine, and handed over the spirit.  The Jews asked Pilate that his legs be broken, but when the soldiers saw he was already dead, they didn't break his legs, but thrust a lance into his side, and Blood and water flowed out.

  • Creighton:  Even in his agony, Jesus shows his love for his mother (who sometimes misunderstood him).  His words encourage us to love our families and recognize our responsibility to them. The piercing of one's side was not common with crucifixion, and doubtless the blood and water have meaning.  Blood represents our redemption, achieved by Jesus' suffering and death; water symbolizes our rebirth and cleansing from sin.  The flowing signified that we receive these benefits through Christ....
    "Mother of the Church"
    ("Mary, all is yours")
    St. Peter's Square (inside story)
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Mother of us all":  Our human frailties often prevent us from serving as we should, but "the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ" (Catechism 975).  As Mary stood at the cross, mother and Son shared the rejection, but evil did not triumph; "it was impossible that death should keep its hold."  Christ's sacrifice paved the way for our rebirth.  God's plan that our salvation come through the Church was manifested when "blood and water flowed" from Jesus' side.  "As Eve was formed from Adam's side, so the Church was born from Christ's pierced heart hanging on the cross" (Catechism 766).  Eve "became the mother of all the living," but she fell into temptation.  Mary's obedience remedied Eve's disobedience.  Mary is the mother of those reborn in Christ, "those who keep God's commandments and give witness to Jesus"; she's ready, willing, and able to be your advocate.
  • Passionist:  No matter what the relationship, there seems to be a persistent connection between a mother and her children.  What must Jesus have felt as he looked down from the cross at his bereft mother?  Though he entrusted her to John, they had to let go of their bond, and their hearts were breaking.  The severing of such a bond reminds me that I can never lose my tether to God, my faithful, wise, patient, and everlasting source, and within that embrace I remain tethered to those I loved on earth.  We come from God, go to God, and are united with God and each other.  As I place myself in God’s presence in prayer, Mom is there too, along with all who have gone before me. If I let myself be open to it, it's real, true, and eternal....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Behold, your son!  Behold, your mother!"  God created the human race in love for love, to be united with him and one another in love and peace. True love gives all for the beloved. With the gift of love and life God also gave freedom and responsibility:  freedom to choose good or evil, community or for division, peace or strife, life or death.  God gave Adam and Eve all they needed for life, happiness, and friendship with God, in a Garden full of the fruit of his creation. God took delight in them and walked with them so they could grow in knowledge of his love and wisdom.  He allowed the tempter to test them so they could freely choose whom they'd obey. The serpent tricked them into believing they'd be all-powerful and wise, like God, on their own terms.  They choose to believe him over God.  Their fall resulted in a wound only God could heal.  God in his love and wisdom disciplined them for their own good, to lead them to repentance and restoration.  He'd send them a Redeemer to restore them and their descendants. Isaiah foretold that God would send a Redeemer, born of a virgin from the house of David, to undergo affliction and shed his blood to atone for sin.  Jesus, through obedience to the Father and his sacrifice for us, won for us pardon and life; he humbled himself by taking flesh, so he could become one with us and offer himself as the perfect sacrifice.  He is the new Adam who begets a new humanity and creation through his cross and resurrection; he told Nicodemus we must be born anew, of water and the Spirit.  On the cross, seeing his mother and John, he said, "Behold your son," and "Behold, your mother”; they took each other as spiritual mother and son.  When Jesus addressed Mary as he did before as "woman" (vs. "mother"), he may have been alluding to the beginning of creation when Adam addressed Eve as Woman.  Mary's mission as God-bearer (theotokos) is linked with her son's mission. Through the gift of the Spirit she became the first disciple and a spiritual mother of a new humanity born again through her son.  Early church fathers saw her as a new Eve who cooperated with her Son through faith and devotion to and cooperation with God. 
"The Lord, coming into his creation in visible form, was sustained by his creation which he sustains. His obedience on the cross reversed the disobedience at Eden; the good news of the truth announced to Mary  undid the evil lie that seduced Eve....  As Eve was seduced by an angel and fled from God after disobeying him, Mary was given the good news by an angel and obeyed God. As Eve was seduced into disobedience, Mary was persuaded into obedience; thus Mary became Eve's advocate....  Mary's obedience untied the knot of Eve's disobedience; her faith loosened what Eve's disbelief bound" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, paraphrased).
Mary remained faithful to God's call, as the mother of the Son who took flesh in her.  She's the first Christian because she accepted the Gospel and gave her "yes" to God's saving plan.  She followed her son to the cross and prayed for the outpouring of the Spirit.  She is a model of faith, obedience, hope, perseverance, love, and fidelity. May we to take up our cross and follow Jesus in his way of love and sacrifice.  Faith and trust in Jesus opens the door to all God's promises.  God gives us the grace we need and expects us to respond like Mary with obedience and trust.  May we not go our own way but rather yield to his grace.
  • Universalis:  Mary has been given the title of Mother of the Church since she gave birth to Christ, Head of the Church, and she became the Mother of the redeemed people before her Son had given up the spirit on the Cross. Paul VI confirmed the title at Vatican II on 21 November 1964 and decreed that the whole Christian people should, by the use of this beautiful title, give Mary still greater honor.
"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 (Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church.  This was already present in the mind of the Church from the words of Augustine and Leo the Great.  The former says Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in their rebirth into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is the birth of the body, indicating Mary as both Mother of Christ, Son of God, and of the members of his Mystical Body, the Church" (Ecclesia Mater).
Dress legend
  • 'Tree' pin:  Adam ate of the tree (1st reading)
  • 'Serpent' tie pin:  "The serpent tricked me" (1st reading)
  • '?' tie pin:  "Where are you?  Who told you you were naked?  Why did you do eat the forbidden fruit?" (1st reading)
  • Dirt-colored suspenders:  "You'll eat dirt" (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  "He'll strike your head while you strike his heel" (1st reading)
    • 'Fruits' tie with grapes :  Forbidden fruit (1st reading), Jesus drank common wine from the vessel (gospel)
    • 'Alps' pin:  The apostles returned from Mt. Olivet (1st reading alt.); the Lord loves his foundation on the holy mountains (psalm)
    • 'Mary' pin:  They prayed with ... Mary the mother of Jesus.... (1st reading alt.); Mary at the cross; "Behold your mother" (gospel)
    • 'Cross' necklace:  Marys stood by Jesus' cross (gospel)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  Jesus 'handed' over his spirit (gospel)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  Blood and water flowed out of Jesus' side (gospel)
    • White shirt:  Liturgical color of today's memorial
    • Green on tie:  Ordinary Time season resumes today

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