Homily on the last day of Bicentennial celebration - Diocese of Richmond - 2021
Gen 3:9-15, 20 ; Acts 1:12-14 ; John 19:25-34
“Woman, Behold, Your Son”
Dearly beloved, on this last day of our diocesan bicentennial celebration, we are asked to reflect on the readings used at the memorial of Mary mother of the church; which is celebrated every Monday after Easter.
We see in the first reading, the image of a God, who will never abandon his people. After the fall, God designed a plan to save us. You can read about it in the scripture verse of Genesis 3:15, it is called the “protoevangelium.” In this plan, Mary, our mother was foretold to play a very specific role. Jesus, eventually comes to us through her and it is only befitting that we go to Jesus through her. This is among the last testament of our Lord and savior as He proclaims in the gospel today, “Behold your mother.”
Friends, according to tradition, the Blessed Mother was there in the upper room when the Holy Spirit settled upon the Apostles. Mary is often called an exemplary disciple. She is also an exemplary apostle. When we think about apostles, we usually think of people who were with Jesus during his earthly ministry. We also think of persons who had a direct experience of the risen Lord.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was with Jesus from the beginning to the end of his earthly life. She was there at the first moment that 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 ministry at the Wedding Feast at Cana. We read of her following Jesus as he moved from place to place.
Again, we have listened to how she went to Jerusalem during the final days of Jesus’ life. And when He was betrayed and abandoned, Mary stood by Him at the foot of the cross — so that He would not die alone. The gospel narration goes like this:
26 When Jesus saw his mother[k] and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. 28 After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled,[l] Jesus said, “I thirst.” (John 19:25-27). The “disciple without a name” (the beloved one) represents everyone who follows Jesus. Jesus placed all of us into the loving care of Mary. She looks at each of us as her children.
Beloved, we also read about how the disciple took Mary into his own home. And this is what Jesus wants for you and for me. Jesus wants you to keep Mary in your homes — into your lives and into your hearts. He wants you to love her as a mother. He wants you to feel the love that she has for you. And He wants you to love Mary, as He, Jesus, loved Mary.
Beloved dear brothers and sisters, I believe strongly, that this is the reason for which our diocese on this last day of the celebration has asked all of us to reflect on these readings. Let the words re-echo in your mind, “Behold, your Mother”! See her as Jesus sees her! Love Mary as your mother! Ask her to be a mother to you and to never leave you! Ask her to intercede for you and help you grow in faith and to do the will of God. As she helped Jesus to grow, Mary’s mission now is to help us to grow as sons and daughters of God. And she has so much to teach us!
Let’s keep praying the Rosary! It is my favorite prayer because of its simplicity and beauty. The Rosary helps us to center our lives on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary is always there. I have some rosaries to give out if you need one.
May our Blessed Mother, help us today and always to follow her Son and to grow in holiness and love!