May 29, 2023
by Maureen Waldron
Creighton University - Retired      
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Lectionary: 572  

Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 87:1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7
John 19:25-34

Praying Ordinary Time


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

An Even Better Marriage

Praying the Rosary as Pope St. John Paul II Suggested

Jesus’ family was gathering in the Upper Room.  His mother was there, along with the many other men and women who had followed Jesus for so long.  They had witnessed the tension rising between Jesus and the authorities; watched in horror as he was crucified; and then had hidden in fear.  Jesus, risen, had appeared to them and stayed with them, continuing to teach them for the next 40 days.  Then, just today, as they spoke with him then watched in awe, Jesus had been taken up to heaven. 

I picture them walking back from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem.  They were mostly silent, this close-knit group of friends.  But now as they gathered in the Upper Room there was no terror, no hiding.  Just a gathering to do what Jesus would want them to do: Pray.

In that group, Mary had a special place.  She was his mother.  She had somehow become mother to all of them, and they cherished her.  They recognized her courage and remembered how she stood with John, and a handful of other women watching as Jesus died. 

As Pope Francis wrote, “Mary prays, she prays together with the community of the disciples, and she teaches us to have complete trust in God and in his mercy. This is the power of prayer! Let us never tire of knocking at God's door. Every day through Mary let us carry our entire life to God's heart! Knock at the door of God's heart!”

Just before his death, Jesus looked down at his mother, then at his beloved John and asked them to care for each other.  “Woman, behold your son.  Son, behold your mother.”  From that hour, we are told that John took Mary into his home. Pope Francis said that as Jesus looks at Mary from the cross and tells her John is now her son, “we are all present in John, and Jesus’ look of love” places us directly in the care of his mother, Mary.  Jesus has given each one of us to Mary as her child.

Today the Church celebrates Mary as the Mother of the Church.  Jesus is saying to us, “Behold, here is your mother.”  Too often in our modern day, Mary can be rejected or ignored, entrapped by sentimental piety which robs her of her power. The early disciples saw her as we can: a strong mother, Jesus’ mother, and a courageous leader among them. 

I picture Mary as a warm, laughing woman who entertained others with her stories.  She prayed from her heart when she was afraid, and she drew courage from God and the scriptures for each bold step she was called to take in life.  I suspect that like so many women, her role as a mother expanded her heart to love in ways she could not have imagined.

Today as we celebrate Mary, we see her humanity, her deep faith, her love for both her son and husband.  And we see her not only as the mother of all of those who followed Jesus each day, but as our mother, a loving force who welcomes us with open arms – each one of us her children, who were given to her by her beloved son.

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