MAY 24. Mary, Help of Christians. Lk. 1. 39-56
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
Our Lady Help of Christians; - who the Bishops of Australia chose many years ago as the Patroness of Australia. What an inspired choice, and this year it is providential the feast has occurred immediately after the Feast of Pentecost yesterday. In addition, this year today is a double feast for Mary; - firstly in honouring her as Australia’s Patroness, but also it is the day (Monday after Pentecost) the Pope chose to have a new Feast; - Mary, Mother of the Church!
A Truth highlighted within the Creed, and also in today’s reading, shows what a central role Mary plays in God’s plan for the world’s salvation, and not only the world’s, but also our own individual salvation. In the Creed we are told Mary was “conceived of the Holy Spirit” meaning the Holy Spirit is the source of her creation; - while in today’s reading we are told when Mary arrived to visit her cousin: - “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit!”
And if these truths are not enough, we have the inspired words in the Magnificat that make up today’s reading, and which are incorporated into the Gospel texts so they will be proclaimed to the world until the end of time; - and then we have the present Pope creating a new Church celebration highlighting the Truth Mary is the Mother of the Church.
And in addition I have my personal ‘signs’; - on May 21 1961 (60th anniversary this week!) of my first confession in many years in the Adelaide Cathedral; - followed by my entering a Monastery on May 21 1962; - followed the “Our Lady of Hartley” reading on May 21 1963; - followed by, during my 50yr visit to Alice Springs on 21 May 2008 to celebrate my arrival in the NT, I was able to celebrate the inaugural liturgy for ’Mary, Mother of the Church’
And finally, we have the Proclamation; - by Christ himself; - from the Cross; - of his last gift to his Church before his death; - when he appointed Mary to be Mother of his Mystical Body; - of each and every Christian until the end of time!
Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death!
Gospel Acclamation cf.Lk1:45
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, for your firm believing
that the promises of the Lord would be fulfilled.