Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection May 20, 2024


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R/. Of you are told glorious things, O city of God!.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord; O blessed mother of the Church, you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, 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 to his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

1.      How meaningful it is that we celebrate Mary as the Mother of the Church soon after the Pentecost! If a new church is born on the Pentecost, the day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, fittingly she needs a mother. Mary is that mother who feeds, nurtures, strengthens, guides and accompanies this newborn church.

2.      Both the readings point to this mothering and accompanying role of Mary. In the gospel, Mary stands at the foot of the cross. Jesus in his dying moments from the Cross, does the mutual entrustment: he entrusts the disciple to the care of Mary, saying, “Woman, behold your son!” and he entrusts Mary to the care of the disciple, saying, “Behold, your mother!”

3.      We know that the disciple represents all the disciples and thus all of us as well. Thereby, we are under the mothering of Mary. Like a Mother so tender, caring, and grooming, Mary continues to mother her children. The first reading from Genesis reports on this mothering of Mary, stating that Mary is the new Eve, the mother of all the living, the mother of the saviour whowould bruise the head of the evil one.

4.      We see that the present society languishes in an atmosphere of lack of love, tenderness, sensitivity, and guidance. In other words, this is all the lack of a mother’s heart, the lack of a mothering spirit. Evil breeds when mothering fails. The same thing happens in the church as well.

5.      When the so-called followers of Christ denounce and discard the very mother of Christ, they are throwing away deliberately the mothering by the mother. One who does not love the mother, cannot love others as well. This obligatory memorial of Mary as the Mother of the Church is a clear call for all of us to rediscover and recapture the lost love, devotion, and imitation concerning Mary.

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