MONDAY 29 MAY
Mary, Mother of the Church
Blessed Joseph Gerard
Mary had been present at the very beginnings of the Church. She was there at the Annunciation when her humble consent in purity of heart allowed the Son of God to take flesh in her virginal womb. The title, Mother of the Church (Mater Ecclesiae) was first used by Berengaud, bishop of Treves (d. 1125) in his writings.
The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus.
O God, Father of mercies, whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also; grant, we pray, that with her loving help, your Church may be more fruitful day by day, and exulting in the holiness of her children, may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading : Acts 1:12-14
After Jesus was taken up into heaven the apostles went back from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a Sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Of you are told glorious things, O city of God!
On the holy mountain is his city, cherished by the Lord. The Lord prefers the gates of Zion to all Jacob’s dwellings.
Of you are told glorious things, O city of God! “Zion shall be called ‘Mother’, for all shall be her children.”
It is he, the Lord Most High, who gives each his place. In his register of peoples he writes: “These are her children”, and while they dance they will sing: “In you all find their home.”
Alleluia, alleluia! Happy are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise, for from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. Alleluia!
Gospel: John 19: 25-34
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home. After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, “It is accomplished”; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit. It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the Sabbath – since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive our offerings, O Lord, and transform them into the mystery of salvation, so that by its power we may be set aflame with the charity of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, and with her may be united more closely to the work of redemption. Through Christ our Lord
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Jn2:1, 11
A wedding was held in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; then Jesus performed the first of his signs and manifested his glory and his disciples believed in him.
Prayer after Communion
Having received the pledge of redemption and of life we humbly pray, O Lord, that with the Blessed Virgin’s motherly help your Church may teach all nations by proclaiming the Gospel and, thanks to the outpouring of the Spirit, may fill the whole earth. Through Christ our Lord.
The figure of Mary, our Mother, is at the centre of our scriptural meditation today. In the first reading, she is present among the apostles gathered for prayer. In the Gospel, she is at the foot of the cross and as such, Saint John presents her as a very important disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus offers Mary to John as the latter’s mother, and John to Mary as her son. This teaches us that Mary is the mother of the Church, founded by Jesus himself upon the twelve apostles. Mary is given to us as the mother of the Church and as our mother. We can entrust our cries and worries to her.