Tuesday, September 23, 2014
25th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Prv 21:1-6, 10-13
Gospel: Luke 8:19-21
The mother and relatives of Jesus came to him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and wish to meet you.” Then Jesus answered, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The Chiong sisters rape case in Cebu was the trial of the millennium that highlighted the ordeal of two mothers: one seeking justice for the fate of her two daughters; the other also fighting for justice believing that her son was wrongly convicted. Sympathy poured on the mother of the victim. But when the mother of one of the accused also went public with her anguish, public attention shifted from the crime to the struggle of both. Beyond the issue of guilt, this point was established: determination of guilt is the concern of the judge; mothers will always stand by their children.
This takes us to the story of the Virgin Mary. It did not matter to her anymore if her son was innocent or not. What was important to her was her son needed her and she was the only creature who could feel the extent of his anguish while hanging on the cross. Jesus’ resurrection established his innocence and many have accepted him. But Mary continues to suffer rejection. Her very own motherhood has even become the reason for such rejection as many resent her title as Mother of God. They even use today’s Gospel reading as basis in discrediting her. They argue that Jesus himself was reluctant to address the issue of Mary’s motherhood in public. But a deeper reflection on today’s reading brings out the truth that Jesus had a profound respect for her.
By saying “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it”, Christ shifted the attention of the crowd from Mary’s biological motherhood to her role as model of discipleship. The issue then was no longer her biological motherhood but her compliance with her unique role in the plan of salvation for which she was chosen his mother. Mary lived out that role by doing God’s Will and making her “yes” at the incarnation a continuing offer to cooperate in the plan of salvation. Beyond being his biological mother, she was his partner in the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation.
She continues this role today by bringing souls back to God. As mother of Jesus she will never disappoint her Son by taking us to the path of damnation. As mother of us all she will never seek our spiritual destruction. The slogan “To Jesus through Mary”, though not biblical, makes sense. She will stand by us at our own Calvary and it will not matter to her on which of the three crosses we are hanging. Determination of guilt is the problem of the judge, not of the mother. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, grant us the grace of perseverance so that like Mary we too may hold on to the end in our relationship with you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: Constantius, Sacristan at the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Italy. One day while he was perched on top of a ladder while attending his duties, a man pelted him with insults and called him a liar. Upon hearing this man’s accusations, Constantius came down from the ladder and embraced him. He thanked the man for telling him of his weakness and sin. St. Linus, who is also venerated on this day, was a pope who succeeded St. Peter and occupied the pontiff’s chair for 12 years. He authored the decree that women should not appear in church unless veiled. He received a martyr’s crown when he was beheaded for being constant in his faith.