The Venerable Fulton Sheen, who please God, his cause to sainthood will resume soon, once said: “God who made the sun, also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. All its light is reflected from the sun. The Blessed Mother reflects her Divine Son; without Him, she is nothing. With Him, she is the Mother of men.”
That quote came to mind as we celebrate this feast of Mary the Mother of the Church. Yesterday we celebrated with the feast of Pentecost the Birth of the Church. With the setting sun of that day, this Marian feast day reflects back on the brilliance of that momentous day. We recall once again how “the almighty has done great things” through Mary. While He could do any great thing He wanted to in any way possible, He constantly looks to the open hearts of his creation to respond to his invitations. So that he can use and utilize us to continue to share these mysteries of our faith, these means of our salvation.
The feast of Pentecost recounted the descent of the Holy Spirit on all those locked in that Upper Room – and sent the Apostles out in this amazing way transforming them from fearful to courageous, equipping them with new gifts and charisms. But we can’t overlook that Mary was there with them in that Upper Room. She wasn’t equipped or transformed in a new way that sent her out to mission. She had already received the Holy Spirit when she conceived Jesus in her virgin womb. That was her mission was in becoming the Mother of God. What’s beautiful to reflect on is that Mary didn’t recede into the background now that her son ascended into heaven. It’s not like we ever “retire” from mission and ministry. Jesus words from the Cross which we heard in this Gospel, “Behold your Mother” was more than a son looking out for her temporal concerns and asking John to look out for her. Jesus knew that the apostles were empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit, but would also benefit from, would need a Mother’s love to help them in their mission… A mother who would always reflect the rays of her son Jesus.
As Jesus’ disciples 2,000 years later – we continue to need our Mother Mary’s love to comfort and support us to engage in the difficult work of bringing her Son’s radiance to a sometimes dark and disturbing world.