Today we are celebrating the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. Why is this title appropriate for Mary? Mary is the new Eve. Eve said no to God: no to "the gift of divine grace that raises us out of a purely natural state and into a dynamic of communion with God." (John Paul II, Man and Woman). Mary said yes: yes to bearing the Son of God who would bring redemption to His people.
Yesterday, in his homily, Father Willy spoke about the joy of the Ascension. When Jesus parted from them and was taken up to heaven, the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Father Willy gave us four reasons why they were not sad. This confidence gave them the joy, the strength, the courage, and the boldness to proclaim Christ risen.
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If you drive by My Brother’s Keeper in North Easton Massachusetts, you will see a bronze statue of Jesus washing the feet of a disciple, a disciple who most likely had been walking all day in the desert sand with sandals. Then he says, "So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." (Jn. 13:14)
Today’s gospel reminds me of an experience I had a couple of years ago while serving as a missionary in Northeast India. I was assigned to a remote parish in Tuikarmaw, south of Tripura. It was my first mission as a priest. This parish had 25 sub-centers located in villages over about 400 square kilometers. We moved from village to village, bringing the sacraments, spending time with the villagers and catechizing them.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever! On April 27, 2022, we were in Hollywood, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Family Theater Productions. It was attended by many celebrities, friends, and well-wishers of Family Theater Productions. Wow! What an uplifting experience. It is hard to imagine how a simple priest could walk into Hollywood, the capital of cultural influence, equipped only with a positive vision for families. It is harder to imagine how he could influence the A-list stars of Hollywood to promote family spirituality.
At Trinity Church in Boston, parishioners bring bells to the Easter Vigil and ring them when the words "Christ is Risen" are said during the Mass. This is to commemorate the fact that Jesus is truly risen from the dead! And this fact is the core of our faith.