Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
(Acts 1:12-14; John 19:25-34)
Today for the first time throughout the world the Church celebrates Mary as Mother of the Church. Pope Francis decreed the innovation in order to tie Christian life more closely to the cross and to Mary. Today’s gospel eloquently illustrates this linkage.
The passage relates John’s version of Jesus’ death and of the formation of the first Christian community. From the cross Jesus introduces his mother to his beloved disciple and his disciple to his mother. He does not mean simply that his beloved disciple care for his mother. Rather, he wants them to unite with his other disciples as a community of believers. As the Church requires the Holy Spirit, the gospel specifies that Jesus “hand(s) over his spirit,” ostensibly to them. Mother and son form one family, the children of God, whose task is to proclaim the Father’s love to the world.
We are called into that relationship. With Mary teaching us, we learn how to reflect over the events of our lives as encounters with God. With brother and sister Christians we give witness to Christ’s resurrection by our joy in humble service.