9.12.18 Wed. wk. 23 – O. T. (II)
Feast: Most Holy Name of Mary
Corinthians 7: 25 – 31
Gospel Luke 6: 20 – 26
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way. The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Most Holy Name of Mary
In her beautiful Magnificat, Mary made this prediction: “All generations will call me blessed”. (Luke 1:48) Just moments before she said this, Elizabeth had greeted her cousin with the words: “Blessed are you” (Luke 1:45) – blessed are you. Mary is truly ‘blessed among women’ – as we pray in the rosary – but her name is more than just ‘blessed’. We celebrate today the holiness of her name – ‘The Holy Name of Mary’. It is nice to be blessed – but I want to be holy. We all want to be holy. Right? We all want to be saints. And Mary’s name is holy because she was very special.
The name of †Jesus is holy – we all know that. How many of us still – from the early days when we were in school years ago – whenever we hear the name of “†Jesus” – we bow our head. We were taught to do that by our teachers, the Sisters, and many of us still do it – because the name of “†Jesus” is holy. †Jesus is the Son of ‘The Most High’ and He is the source of all holiness, – so His name should be holy. Therefore we should be careful how we use His name. Often His holy name is used as a swear-word when people want to make a point. That holy name is abused when it is used in an unholy way.
So if †Jesus is the source of holiness, therefore holiness is given to all those who share intimately in the nature of †Jesus. Mary clearly shares intimacy with †Jesus. After all, Mary and †Jesus share the same DNA. Mary shares a lot with †Jesus. Mary shares in the image of †Jesus more perfectly than any other human being. Both mother and Son were completely obedient to God’s will. Mary would say to the angel: “Let it be done to me as you say”. (Luke 1:38) †Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Not my will, but your will be done, Father”. (Luke 22:42) That is one way they both share in the holy name – because of their absolute commitment to do the Father’s will. Mary is holy and her name is holy and venerated for all generations – so her prediction has come true. The name of Mary reflects her holiness.
Look at the Beatitudes in our Gospel today. The Beatitudes reflect the life of †Jesus – they are the attitudes of †Jesus. And Mary reflected the Beatitudes perfectly in her life and therefore she shares in the holiness of His holy name. Mary was “blessed” because she was poor – ‘Blessed are the poor’. Her holiness is reflected in her ‘poverty of spirit’. Hers was the life of surrender: “I am only the maidservant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you say”. (Luke 1:38) Mary was rich in grace and freely obtains grace for others – through her prayers – for us. St. Jerome wrote that, while Mary lived in the world, her heart was filled with tenderness for all people. Mary suffered for the troubles of others; the suffering of a mother watching her Son die a horrible death. Her son, who died for no sin of His own – but died for our sins. St. Bernard of Clairvaux prayed: “O great Lady, your measureless mercy fills the whole earth”. (from St. Alphonsus Liguori) Mary was blessed because she was poor. Mary was blessed also because of the “hunger” she felt. Her holiness is reflected in her hunger for all to be filled with the mercy of God. Mary was also rich in grace but she was never full of herself – it was always about other people.
St. Bernard wrote that Mary made herself ‘all’ – to all people. She opens her merciful heart to us all – that everyone may receive of it. And Mary intercedes for us in prayer – that all of us might receive the fullness of grace – the afflicted will receive comfort, the sinner will receive pardon. Mary wants us to be full of God’s grace and Mary does this so everyone can be like her; “full of grace”. St. Hildegard prayed to Mary: “You teach us, O Mary – to hope for far greater graces than we deserve – because you never cease to dispense graces far beyond what we deserve”. (from St. Alphonsus Liguori)
Remember in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians – he wrote this about †Jesus: “God greatly exalted Him and bestowed upon Him the name above every other name – that at the name of †Jesus – every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth”. (Phil. 2:9-10) The life of Mary is perfectly mingled with the life of her Son – therefore the name of “Mary,” shares in the holiness of the name of “†Jesus”. The more completely that we allow ourselves to surrender to God’s will – the more you will say: “Your will be done” – and – we will do what †Jesus wants us to do. The more we do what †Jesus wants, the more thoroughly we mingle with the person of the mother of God. The more we do God’s will – the more united we become – not only with God – but also with the most holy mother and with †Jesus. Then our spiritual life becomes richer.
Stay close to Mary. At the foot of the cross, when †Jesus said to the blessed disciple: “Son, behold your mother” – †Jesus gave Mary to the Church. (John 19:27) When we live the holiness of †Jesus, as Mary lived the holiness of †Jesus – then our name will be pronounced “holy” in heaven.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.