Archive for the ‘Blessed Mother’ Category

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

December 31, 2011

[I’m on vacation, but I am covering one Sunday Mass. This homily will be preached at St. Joseph Church in Lake Linden, Mi.]

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. In many ways, today’s Solemnity is the most important Solemnity that we celebrate in honor of Our Lady. All of the other extraordinary graces and privileges that were bestowed upon Our Blessed Mother were bestowed upon her precisely because she was to be the Mother of the Eternal Son of God made Man. Mary was preserved from all stain of sin at her Immaculate Conception because Our Lord and God was to take His human nature from her and dwell within her womb for nine months. Mary had to be perfectly preserved from all stain of sin in order for her to be a worthy dwelling place for the all-holy Son of God. The Immaculate Conception is necessary when we consider the absolute holiness of the Eternal Son of God Who became Incarnate within her; it also simply makes sense if we stop and think about it: if you were all-powerful and all-wise and you had the opportunity to create your own mother, would you not make her perfect in every way; would you not bestow upon her the greatest gifts imaginable? Of course you would. And Jesus Christ is God: He is all-powerful and all-knowing; and He in fact did create His own Mother and He did bestow upon her many extraordinary gifts: one of them being the gift of preserving her from all sin right from the very first moment of her existence: right from her conception in the womb of her mother Saint Anne.

The Assumption and the fact that Our Lady reigns in Heaven as Queen follow from that most intimate relationship that existed between her and Our Blessed Lord: while on earth they shared that intimate relationship between Mother and Son. No one loves Jesus as much as Mary, His Mother. As His Mother, Mary shared in an absolutely unique way in her Son’s mission on earth. When Mary presented her Son in the Temple Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her soul. And a sword did pierce her Immaculate Heart: as she stood by Our Lord as He hung upon the Cross for us. As Jesus defeated sin and death upon the Cross, Mary stood at His side and united the suffering that she endured in her heart to His suffering for the redemption of the world. Mary cooperated in our Redemption: she gave Our Savior the human nature that He would offer to the Father upon the Cross, and she shared in His Passion as the sword of suffering pierced her maternal heart. The early Christian writers (known as the Church Fathers) saw in the Blessed Virgin Mary the New Eve: just as Saint Paul spoke of Christ as the new Adam. Saint Paul explains that the entire human race lost God’s friendship as a result of the disobedience of Adam, but through the obedience of Christ, access to God was once again made possible. Adam stretched out his hand to a tree in disobedience and as a result sin and death entered the world; Our Lord stretched out His hands on a different kind of tree, upon the Cross, and conquered sin and death. The Church Fathers further point out that Adam was not alone: Eve, too, played her part in the Fall. Eve was led into temptation by the instigation of a fallen angel, the devil, and said “No” to God. Mary, at the invitation of the Archangel Gabrielle, said “Yes” to God, and thereby became of the Mother of the Savior of the world. In order to redeem us from sin and death the Eternal Son of God became one of us, like us in all things except for sin; in order for Him to assume our human nature, Mary had to cooperate with the will of God: she had to say “Yes”; Mary cooperated with God’s plan in bringing about our Salvation by allowing Our God to become one of us in the Incarnation. Our Lady cooperated with Our Lord in our redemption and now she continues to be at His side in Heaven; she is already receiving the reward of her fidelity. As she shared uniquely in Our Lord’s Passion, so too, she now shares uniquely in His glory. The Church teaches us that Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory at the end of her earthly life. This, also, is a teaching that makes sense when we think of it in terms of our own experience. Mary loves Jesus more than anyone: she is His Mother; why wouldn’t Our Lord give this privilege to her? Wouldn’t you give your mother such a gift if you were able to do so? Why would Our Lord do less for His Mother?

For Our Lady, her divine Motherhood is the cause of all of the other countless graces and blessings that she received; and those graces were not for her alone. The graces that she received were for our good as well: Mary’s divine maternity is the source of grace and salvation for us, because through her we received the Author of all grace Himself. Mary cooperated with God in His plan of Salvation when she consented to be the Mother of Our Lord and God, and she continues to intercede for us from Heaven. Our Lord chose Mary to be His Mother and He gave Her to us to be Our Mother as well. Let us rejoice this day for all the many blessings and benefits bestowed upon Our Blessed Mother; and as we begin this New Year, let us renew our confidence in her to obtain for us all that we need from Her Divine Son. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Immaculate Conception

December 13, 2010

The Blessed Virgin Mary was the recipient of many extraordinary graces and privileges.  Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception; today we celebrate that singular gift of God by which Our Blessed Mother was preserved from all stain of sin right from the very first instance of her existence: from her conception in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne.

In the first reading, we heard about the effects of Original Sin.  Because Adam and Eve transgressed God’s command suffering and death entered the world.  Due to the fact that Adam and Eve rejected God’s friendship by their disobedience, the entire human race lost that original state of holiness in which our First Parents were created.

Jesus and Mary being excepted, every human being since the Fall of our First Parents have inherited from their conception a fallen human nature.  We, as children of Adam and Eve, are heirs to the consequences of sin.  The ordinary way that we are rescued from our fallen state is through the Sacrament of Baptism.  We are born with the stain of Original Sin upon our souls: we are born with the need to be purified from sin.  Jesus and Mary are the only two people that never shared in our fallen state.  They did not need to be purified because from the first moment of their existence they were preserved from sin.

Jesus, because He is both fully God and fully man, could never have been in a state of sin.  God and sin are completely at odds and incompatible with one another.  God is supremely holy.  He is without sin by His very nature.  When Scripture speaks of Our Lord becoming man it says that He became a man like us in all things except for sin.  He took on human nature, but it was an unstained human nature.  Like Jesus Mary also was preserved by God from the stain of sin.

We can see evidence of God’s plan to preserve Mary from sin right from the very beginning.  In the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned, God said that He would put enmity between the woman and the serpent and that the woman and her seed would crush the head of the devil.  The woman and her seed that would crush the head of the devil clearly refer to Jesus and Mary.  From the beginning of the human race, God planned to send His Son to die on the Cross in order to save us from sin and death.  From the beginning, God promised to put enmity between the woman and the serpent.  That enmity implies total separation: Mary and the ancient serpent have nothing in common.

This revealed Truth of our Faith can be further seen in our Gospel reading.  When the Archangel Gabriel first appeared to Mary he greeted her with the words: “Hail, full of grace.”  Grace is the very life of God; in other words it is the indwelling of God in the soul.  We receive grace into our souls for the first time at Baptism.  One of the effects of Baptism is that it gives grace (divine life) to the soul.  The Archangel recognized Mary as one that is already completely full of grace even before the Incarnation was effected.  God and sin cannot abide in the same place.  When we commit mortal sin, we drive God from our soul.  Through Reconciliation that grace is restored.  For Mary to be completely full of grace, she had to be completely free of sin.  Grace, the divine life of God, cannot fully abide in a place that is not fully without sin.

This revealed Truth of our Faith makes sense if only we stop and think about it.  The Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity came to earth through Mary.  By the power of the Holy Spirit He was conceived within her.  From her and from her alone Jesus Christ received His human nature.  For nine months He remained hidden in her womb.  How could our all-holy God dwell in a less than holy tabernacle?

From the Fall of our First Parents God planned to send His Son into the world.  Right from the beginning Mary was part of the plan of Redemption: she is the woman whose seed has crushed the head of the devil.  God preserved her from all stain of sin in order to make her worthy of the awe-inspiring task of becoming the human Mother of His Eternal Son.  God completely filled her with grace, from the first instant of her existence, so that Our Lord could become Incarnate of her.  These remarkable gifts given to Our Most Blessed Mother ought to inspire our hearts with wonder and gratitude to God for all that He has done for Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and Our Mother.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

 

October 3rd

October 4, 2010

The month of October is a month dedicated to the Holy Rosary.  The Rosary is a beautiful devotion which combines two forms of prayer: vocal prayer and meditation.  While vocal prayers make up the body of the Rosary, meditation upon the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Christ makes up the “soul” of the Rosary.  In order to derive the most benefit from the recitation of the Rosary, meditation on the mysteries is vital.

The Rosary is a most effective way to show our love for Jesus and Mary.  It is a devotion offered in honor of Our Blessed Mother, but it is profoundly Christ-centered.  This devotion in honor of Our Lady causes us to meditate on her Divine Son.  Mary always leads us to Jesus.

As we meditate upon the mysteries of the Rosary, we can think of the example that Jesus and Mary are for us.  We are called to follow Our Lord, and no one followed Him more faithfully than Mary; therefore, she too is a model of virtue for us.  Simply by praying the Rosary, we already imitate Mary who kept all the things that Our Lord did in her heart and meditated upon them continuously.  (cf. Luke 2:9)

Praying the Rosary regularly is a great way to deepen our love for Jesus and Mary.  Meditating often on the mysteries of our salvation our hearts are inspired with gratitude for all that God has done for us.

The Rosary is also a very powerful spiritual weapon.  The Rosary was given by Our Lady to Saint Dominic as a weapon to battle the Albigensian heresy.  St. Pius V attributed the victory at Lepanto (a victory which saved Rome from the Ottoman Empire) to the Rosaries that had been offered for that intention.  He instituted a Feast day in honor of Our Lady: the Feast day of Our Lady of Victory.  That Feast day was re-named the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary by Pope Paul VI.  We celebrate Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th.

Through the recitation of the Rosary we can obtain many graces and blessings for ourselves and for others.  Through the Rosary we can commend our families, friends and loved-ones to the most powerful protection of Our Mother and Our Queen.  Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

God bless,

Father White

Assumption Vigil

August 18, 2010

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Non-Catholics oftentimes accuse Catholics of worshipping the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We should always make the clarification that we do not worship anyone, save God alone: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We, Catholics, hold Mary in a very special place of honor because she was the chosen Mother of God’s only begotten Son.  He Who was with the Father from all eternity, took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary in order to free us from sin.

After that distinction has been offered, the non-Catholic might go on to point to today’s Gospel passage in order to show that the fact that Mary was Jesus’ Mother is not a reason to show her honor.  The woman in today’s Gospel held that she was blessed merely because she bore Jesus in her womb.  Jesus corrected the woman and said: “Blessed, rather are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  Of course Mary did hear the word of God and observe it.  At the Visitation, as soon as the Virgin Mary’s greeting reached Saint Elizabeth’s ears, Elizabeth was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and cried out in a loud voice and said: “Most blessed are you among women . . . blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  (cf. Luke 1:40-45) Mary’s greatness is based on her great faith and obedience to God.

Not only is there nothing wrong with showing honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary, herself, says in Luke chapter 1: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior . . . behold, from now on all ages will call me blessed.”  (cf. Luke 1:46-48)  Mary said “yes” to the will of God in her life and because of her “yes” our God became flesh dwelt among us.  Through Mary’s “yes” the promises that God made throughout the Old Testament to send a Redeemer, were fulfilled.

The early Church Fathers saw in the Blessed Mother the fulfillment of many of the Old Testament signs and types.  One of the Old Testament parallels comes from the first reading this evening.  Many of the early Church fathers saw the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant.  In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was a golden box which contained three things: the stone tablet of the Law (the Ten Commandments), some left over Manna (that miraculous bread which the Israelites ate while in the desert), and the rod of Aaron, who was the first High Priest.

Each one of these things contained in the old Ark pointed prefigured, or forward to Jesus Christ.  Once Mary said “yes” to God and conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, she contained within her womb the fulfillment of what was contained in the Ark of the Old Covenant.  Jesus is the living Word of God.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Manna: He, Himself, said: “I am the True Bread come down from Heaven.”  Jesus is also the eternal High Priest of the New and everlasting Covenant.  Mary is seen as the New Ark because she contained within her the Living Word of God, the True Bread come down from Heaven, and the eternal High Priest of the New Covenant.

There are further parallels.  David brought the Ark to the place that he prepared for it in his own city.  While David was bringing the Ark to the city it took a detour and ended up staying in the hill country of Judah for three months.  The Blessed Mother stayed for three months in the hill country of Judah during her Visitation to Saint Elizabeth.  While in the hill country of Judah, David cried out before the Ark: “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?”  Saint Elizabeth, during the Visitation of Mary, the New Ark, cried out: “How does this happen to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?”  David’s joy for the Ark caused him to dance joyfully before the Ark.  When Mary’s greeting reached Elizabeth’s ears, Saint John the Baptist, leaped for joy in the womb of his mother.  (cf. 2 Samuel 6 with Luke 1)

Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant: that is why the Church gives us the Psalm that it does today: “Lord, go up to the place of Your rest, You and the Ark of Your holiness.”  The Church sees the Assumption of Mary into Heaven as the fulfillment of that Psalm.  We know that the Lord has Ascended into Heaven and He has taken His Ark, His Mother with Him: body and soul.

If we understand the parallel that Saint Luke makes in his Gospel between the Ark of the Covenant and the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can than better understand the vision that Saint John described in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the book of Revelation.  At the time that Saint John was writing of the vision that he had, the Ark of the Covenant had been lost for quite a long time.  At the end of chapter 11, Saint John says that He saw the Temple in Heaven opened, and there he saw the Ark.  Any Jewish readers of his day would have perked up their ears: they would have wanted to know about the Ark that had so long been lost and sought after.  The next sentence goes on to describe a woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.  A Jewish reader might wonder: what happened to the Ark.  We know that Saint John is describing the Ark: Our Lady is the Ark.

All of these ideas have been very abstract.  I, personally, find them to be very interesting.  As I was coming into the Church, I loved learning about the Church Fathers and the ways that they interpreted Scripture.  The Mary/Ark parallel is still one of my favorites.  There is a reality behind all these ideas, that we should not lose sight of: The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Our Lord, and she is our Mother.  She reigns in Heaven at the right hand of her Son, where she makes constant intercession for us her children.  Her greatest desire is to see us perfectly united with her Son.

We, here in this parish dedicated to her honor, ought to have constant recourse to her motherly intercession.  She is a Mother ready at every moment to assist us in our day-to-day lives.  Let us turn to her often and with great confidence.  Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You this day for giving us Your Mother to be our Mother as well.  May we always remember to call upon her in all our needs, and through her powerful intercession may we be drawn ever closer to You.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day)

May 17, 2010

Once again I would like to wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day.  May the Lord pour His grace upon all mothers on this day dedicated to honoring them.  It is good for us also to remember to honor Our Lady in some way today.  Jesus gave her to us all to be our Mother.  As we honor our biological mothers this day, we should not forget to honor our spiritual mother.  It is quite fitting that Mother’s Day falls within the month of May, a month dedicated in a special way to the Mother of Our Lord, and the Mother of us all, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Like many converts, I personally had a difficult time figuring out Marian devotion as I was coming into the Catholic Faith.  Protestants are taught that honoring Mary somehow diminishes the honor that we show Jesus.  Of course we know that that is simply not true.  Mary and Jesus are not in competition with one another.  The Son is not found apart from His Mother.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary beat in perfect union.  Our Lord gave us His Mother to be our Mother; He wants us to honor her.  Mary doesn’t keep anything for herself, besides, any honor that we give to Mary, ultimately is given to God, Who has done great things for her.

Marian devotion doesn’t take away from the honor given to Jesus.  All the greatness of Mary, she received from God.  When we praise her, we praise what God has done in her and through her.  Mary always brings us to Jesus.  Her greatest desire is that we be ever more closely united to her Son, that we come to imitate Him ever more perfectly.  She wants to see each one of our hearts come to perfectly resemble the Heart of her Son.  She obtains many graces for us, in order that we may grow closer to God.  Yet many more graces are available to us if we would only ask for them.

Mary is, for us, a most powerful intercessor with the Lord.  No one was ever closer to Jesus, than His Mother.  She carried Him in her womb for nine months.  Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, she fed Him, she carried Him in her arms.  Mary took Him to the Temple, she protected Him and she taught Him.  She was there when He learned to walk; she was there when He said His first words.  She poured upon Him all the tenderness of the best of mothers as He grew up.  She was there when He performed His first public miracle, in fact, it was at her request that He performed it and His disciples began to believe in Him.  She was there at the foot of the Cross, when all the Apostles save Saint John abandoned Him.  She was near her Son as He was lifted up upon the Cross and died in order to win our Salvation.  Now, in Heaven, Mary sits at Jesus’ right hand.  Jesus loves His Mother.  She was perfectly obedient to Him at every moment of her life.  Jesus loves her and He refuses her nothing.

As I mentioned, Mary was a difficult thing for me to grasp as I was coming into the Church.  There were two things that really opened my heart.  They weren’t theological arguments, or Biblical proofs, although there are plenty of those available, to be sure.  The first point that forced me to examine the question more closely was John Paul the Second’s great Marian devotion.  The thing drew me to the Catholic Church, was the fact that it was able to teach with the Authority of Christ.  Once I learned that Jesus Christ only founded One Church, and that He entrusted His Authority to that Church, that the Church could teach in the name of Jesus, and was guided by the Holy Spirit, I knew that I had to belong to that Church.  I knew that the way that the Catholic Church today is connected back to Jesus is through an unbroken succession of bishops and Popes that extends back to the Apostles and ultimately to Jesus Himself.  I knew that John Paul II was the successor of Saint Peter, who had been given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  I knew that the Pope was the Vicar of Christ on earth and that because Our Lord promised the Holy Spirit to Saint Peter and the Apostles, the Pope could not teach error in area of Faith and morals.  I also knew that John Paul II had a profound devotion to Mary.  That fact forced me to keep an open mind.

The thing that ultimately changed my heart, of course, was God’s grace.  There was one moment that I remember very clearly, when I realized that Mary’s whole mission is to draw people closer to God.  I remember watching a movie about Fatima.  As I began watching the movie, I was highly skeptical.  Even though it was not a very high quality movie, and the graphics were poorly done, when the movie portrayed the great miracle of the sun my heart was moved.  It is estimated that one hundred thousand people witnessed that miracle in Fatima and many hundreds of thousands of people have been drawn closer to God because of Fatima since.  Mary isn’t an obstacle to union with God: she helps people grow closer to God.  That is when I began to ask Our Lady to pray for me, that she would help me in my journey through this valley of tears.

We should all fly to Our Blessed Mother with great confidence for all of our needs.  She is a most powerful intercessor for us.  Just as at the Wedding Feast of Cana, she continually intercedes for us with her Son, even though we may not be aware of it.  We should actively seek out her assistance.  She is a Mother ready at every moment to come to our aid if we will only ask for her help.  She is your Mother, she loves you and she wants you to be think of her; she wants to help you grow closer to Jesus.  Let us all entrust ourselves to her motherly care today: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was ever left unaided.  Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, our mother; to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in the clemency hear and answer them.  Amen.

May 16th

May 17, 2010

As I mentioned in the last article, May is a month that is dedicated to Mary, Our Mother.  The best way to honor Our Lady is to imitate her.  Mary is a model of all virtue.  She lived her life for God alone.  No one has ever loved Jesus as perfectly as she did.  She completely surrendered herself to God.  She had total confidence and trust in Him.  In order to honor her, we should strive to give our hearts completely to her and through her to God.  Mary’s greatest desire for us is that the perfect image of the heart of Christ, her Son, would be reproduced in our hearts.

During her life Mary continually contemplated Christ in her heart.  (cf. Luke 2:19, ff.)  In imitation of Our Lady, we should always have our eyes fixed on Christ; we should continually contemplate His life, death and Resurrection.  The Rosary is a wonderful tool which we have been given to do just that: meditate upon Our Lord.

The Rosary is a prayer which is meant to help us contemplate Christ.  It is clearly Marian in nature, and yet all the mysteries attempt to help us focus on some aspect of Christ’s life.  The Rosary offers us the opportunity to contemplate the mysteries of Christ so that we can more perfectly imitate Christ in our lives.

The Rosary is also a great way to honor Our Lady and obtain her powerful intercession for ourselves as well as for others.  John Paul II said: “To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and His Mother.”  (Rosarium Virginis Mariae # 25)

During this month dedicated to Our Lady, let us imitate her and meditate upon Our Lord through the frequent recitation of the Rosary.  Let us also entrust ourselves, our families as well as all our cares, burdens and worries to her through it.  Have confidence that she will safely and swiftly unite us ever more closely to Jesus if we but entrust ourselves to her maternal care.  Mary, Our Queen and Our Mother, pray for us!

God bless,

Father White

May 9th

May 6, 2010

We are now well into the month of May, which has traditionally been and continues to be a month dedicated in a special way to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It would be good for us to spend extra time during this month to meditate upon all the extraordinary graces that God bestowed upon Our Lady, and ask for her to intercede for us, for our families, for our Country and for our Church.

Mary is a most powerful intercessor with Our Lord.  Saint James tells us that: “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”  (James 5:16)  Our Lady’s prayers are very powerful because, after Our Lord, there isn’t anyone holier than she.

Furthermore, no one was closer to Our Lord than Our Lady.  How much Jesus loves His Mother!  There is not anything that Jesus would refuse her, and therefore her prayers are most powerful.

If we still need further proof of the importance of beseeching Mary’s powerful intercession, we can see in the lives of all the Saints great devotion and love for Mary.

Jesus, Himself, gave her to us to be our mother.  We should also be aware that Mary wants us to become more and more like her Son.  Her greatest desire for us is that we would come to be formed into the image of her divine Son.  She obtains for us the graces that we need to imitate Jesus ever more faithfully.  She wants us to seek her intercession.  There are many graces which she desires to pour out upon the world, but we have to ask for those graces.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

God bless,

Father White

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

August 25, 2009

The Gospel passage that we have just heard proclaimed, is one that is often used by Protestants to argue against the Catholic Church’s constant Teaching that Our Blessed Mother had other children, after the birth of Jesus.

The first thing to remember is that the Bible was not originally written in English; it was written in Hebrew.  Translations are always a difficult thing to deal with.  A particular difficulty with the ancient Hebrew language is that there was only one word that meant “brother”, “cousin”, and “near-relative”.  This can be proven from other biblical texts.  For example: In Genesis 11 we hear that Lot is the nephew of Abraham.  In Genesis 14 we hear that Lot is called Abraham’s “brother”.  The Jews used the word “brother” for any near relative, without necessarily meaning “blood-brothers.”

A New Testament example of this same issue can be found by examining two Gospel passages: Matthew 27 and Mark 15.  These two passages show us clearly that James and Joseph, who are identified as “brothers of the Lord” are sons of another Mary; not the Mother of Jesus.  The 19th chapter of the Gospel of John identifies this Mary as “the wife of Clopas”.  Remember also: the “brothers” of Jesus are never called “sons of Mary”.  Furthermore, Jesus is often referred to as the son of Mary, but never as a son of Mary as if He had siblings.

Another strong proof can be found at the foot of Cross.  Jesus entrusts His Mother to Saint John: “Woman, behold your son; son behold your Mother.”  Why would Jesus entrust His Mother to someone to whom He is not related if He had other siblings who would have taken care of Her?

Besides these proofs from Scripture, there is also the powerful testimony of Tradition.  The Early Christian writers all defend Mary’s perpetual virginity in their writings, right from the earliest centuries.  Some of the greatest names in the Church after the time of the Apostles held and defended this truth.  The fact that Mary was perpetually a virgin was universally held; even the first Protestant reformers, Luther Calvin and Zwingli, upheld the doctrine.  For almost 1600 years this truth was uncontested.

Now that we have clarified the objections to the passage, it is important to look at what the passage means for us today.  The Holy Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Gospels faithfully record and hand on to us the things that Jesus said and did.  There are not any wasted words in the Scriptures.  Every single even is meant to convey something to us.  The Holy Spirit continues to speak to us today through the Scriptures.  We have to ask ourselves: “What is the Lord trying to say to me through this passage?”

In the Gospel passage, we hear that Jesus went to His hometown and that there, among those He grew up with, He was amazed because of their lack of faith.  Those who grew up with Jesus didn’t appreciate the Lord in their own midst.  They took Him for granted.  They thought that they knew Him.  He set aside the glory that He had from all eternity with the Father in Heaven and became man in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the working of the Holy Spirit.  He was fully divine and yet fully human.  He was like us in all things except for sin.  He was so much like us, that those who grew up with Him could not recognize His divinity.

When we get into a routine, it is easy to take that routine for granted.  It is easy to come to Mass every Sunday out of habit.  Do we ever stop to think about Who it is that we are coming to Church to receive?  Are we appreciative of the great gifts that God has given to us in our Catholic Faith and in the Eucharist?  It is easy to take the faith or the Mass or the Eucharist for granted.  Our God has given us a very special gift; we need to remind ourselves of what a great gift we have so that we can more fully appreciate it.

God sent His only Son to die on a Cross in order to save us from our sins.  Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself; He poured out every last drop of His precious blood upon the Cross and even that wasn’t enough.  He gives Himself to us as food at every Mass in the Holy Eucharist, in order to be more closely united to us.

When we come to Mass, we should take a moment to reflect upon the great gift that Our Lord gives to us.  Mass is a gift from the Lord.  Let us try to be always mindful of that gift and recognize the Lord, Who gives Himself to us in Holy Communion.