Memorial (optional) of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
(Isaiah 1:10-17; Matthew 10:34-11:1)
Although the celebration is optional, today many Catholics remember Our Lady of Mount Carmel. She is associated with the protection of the faithful from sin and its consequences. To this effect many wear a brown scapular, originally an article of clothing meant to shelter one from the elements. It is worth asking why we look to Mary for help in need and not directly to Christ.
The simple truth is, however, that we cannot look to Mary without looking to Christ. She is, after all, his mother. More to the point, she stands for the Church ever since Jesus formed it from the cross. There he gave his mother to his beloved disciple and him to her. She is the Church’s most distinguished member, the one most faithful to God. Since the Church is the Body of Christ, she represents him in his physical presence on earth.
As we looked to our mothers for help in our infancy, we look to the Church today. The Church guides us to justice. Its sacraments provide us assistance to overcome life’s greatest challenges. Its members support us along the way to eternal life. When we think of the Church in this way, we may give it the face of Mary. Today we proclaim that Our Lady of Mount Carmel represents the Church protecting us from every evil.