Daily Reflection
June 16th, 2007

Maria Teresa Gaston

Center for Service and Justice
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My parish church growing up was named after the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the feast the church celebrates today. Though I don’t recall a single sermon based on our parish name, I did receive the welcome and wisdom of a mother’s love from this suburban Milwaukee parish that welcomed my immigrant family. Through youth retreats and daily Mass reflections on the readings in small summer gatherings, adult education evenings on the early roots of the sacraments, hunger awareness and advocacy workshops, the love of Christ for me and for the world became real through this Immaculate Heart of Mary. “The love of Christ impels us,” Paul tells the Corinthians in today’s first reading, and calls us all to the ministry of reconciliation. It is quite the mission Paul describes, “God appealing through us” to communicate the invitation to others and to the world to be reconciled to God.

Where and how do I sense the love of Christ impelling me today? The need for deep peace-making, reconciliation and healing are all around me. I take this invitation on this feast today to enter into prayer surrounded by the mantilla of stars of our Mother. I bring to her all the need for healing I most acutely feel – in my own life, my own family and those needs in the world I am most aware of near and far.

The gospel today paints such a human picture of Mary and Joseph’s concern as parents suffering three long days of worry for their missing son. As parents, we can taste the nauseating anxiety. This is our mother too – who knows our boundless love for our own children and our confusion and sense of powerlessness at times to help them discern important choices and to help them trust the in-dwelling Holy Spirit, Christ’s love impelling them in directions we don’t always understand. (A book I have found to be a great aid is The Power of Discernment, Helping your Teens Hear God’s Voice Within by Maggie Pike, 2003.) It is a wonderful ministry of reconciliation God has given us as parents and as people involved with the growth and development of others. Let us draw near to implore our Mother today to renew us in healing love to be faithful ambassadors for Christ in our homes and in our world.

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