Everyone needs a mother, and actually, everything needs a mother. Everything has a genesis, a backstory, a context. And very often when we really want to understand anything we try to look for the root.
In my religious community, we’ve grown accustomed to asking “who is the mother of this?” The this could be a reference to anything as small as a misplaced book to a project in the apostolate. But the intention is the same. We are asking “who takes care of this?” or “to whom does this belong?”
This sense of beginnings, rootedness, and context provide a rich backdrop with which to take our lives and bring them into conversation with the readings the Church gives to us on this beautiful celebration. Today we celebrate the new memorial feast day established recently by Pope Francis. It is the memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church.
The first reading from Genesis gives us the radiant, unshakable hope of the woman stepping on the head of the ancient serpent. From the time of the Desert Fathers, our Church has understood this prophecy to point ahead to Our Blessed Mother and the definitive Word that put death to death: Jesus Christ, Son of Mary.
The second option for the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, bespeaks the bold hope of those who want to follow the One who chose to humble Himself to the point of death on the cross. Her presence among the frightened apostles in the upper room can become a solid part of our identity as beloved sons and daughter of God and members of His Body, the Church.
Mary, Mother of the Church is our sure mother, teacher, and queen even in darkness. The darkness brought upon the world by the sin of Adam and Eve is definitively crushed by our victor, queen who crushes the head of Satan. The dark moment of Christ’s death on the Cross is not only overcome by His resurrection, but Our Mother helps the early Church, scared disciples, to pray and wait for the coming of the Paraclete, the advocate promised by Christ Jesus. This Advocate is the one who prays from within our hearts and teaches and reminds us of all Truth.
God could have saved and healed the universe without Our Lady, but He chose to entrust us all to her. Through her, Christ came into the world. Through her, the Church learns how to stand at the foot of the cross. Through her, the Church gains a definitive clarity about her own mission and identity. Just as Our Lady gave her unconditional “yes” in humility and faith to God, so are we the Church called to be the Bride of Christ as St. Paul says. Christ is the head and we, the Church, are members of His Body.
So today as we give praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life and all of our blessings, let us remember to adore Him for giving us Our Mother Mary as Mother of the Church. She is there to tell us where we came from and where we are going. In fact, the great Marian Saints have called her the surest and shortest way to the heart of Christ.
May Mary, Mother of the Church bless us all in these days where darkness seems to be looming in the news we read and in the faces of the people who are suffering both in our own neighborhoods and around the world. She is our Mother. She has been given to us by God Himself to be our sure hope. Let us ask her to intercede for each of our needs and for the whole world. And let us take a few moments today with her so she can teach us to love Christ and give Him our unconditional “yes” in humility and faith.
Sr. Maria Kim-Ngân Bùi is a Daughter of St. Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She has a degree from Boston College and the Augustine Institute. She has offered workshops, presentations, and retreats around the country. She currently serves as the head of marketing and sales at Pauline and one of the guides of Spiritual Accompaniment—the gemstone of the My Sisters online faith community.