Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
(Genesis 3:9-15.20; John 19:25-34)
Pentecost has been called the “birthday of the Church.” Perhaps it would be better to say that the Church was founded on that day with the coming of the Holy Spirit. In any case, Pope Francis has established today, the Monday after the great feast of the Spirit, as the Memorial of Mary, the Mother of the Church. She stands for the Church as its original member.
Of course, Mary is present at the Pentecost event in the Acts of the Apostles. But today’s gospel also shows the formation of the Church with Mary there. Jesus begins his family of disciples by presenting Mary to the beloved disciple. Then as he dies, he hands over his spirit, especially it may be said, to them. It is an climatic moment. By giving himself to death, Jesus has conquered the satanic serpent. This is the evil power who instigated the downfall of humanity by deceiving Eve in the garden. Now the human race begins again with the Church imbued with grace so that it will not fail.
The corona virus pandemic has taken a great toll on the Church. Collections, of course, are down and in some cases this has meant that people are being laid off work. Probably some regular church-goers will not return, either because of fear of crowds or just because they have lost the routine. And the future is very uncertain. There is more reason now than ever to seek our Blessed Mother’s intercession. We ask her to assist us with prayers for the Church and indeed the world during this pandemic crisis.