For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ

Fanciful stories and romantic notions. This day is a bit about that. Fanciful stories and romantic notions. It comes from the idea that we, and I want to emphasize we have to do something with our Blessed Mother. 

Indeed, we owe Mary a debt of gratitude for her fiat, her acceptance of God’s will for her, that she be the mother of His Son Jesus. We owe her a debt of gratitude for the ministry she performed, both throughout her Son’s life, and in the early Church. She left us an example of dedication and service that we should all be following.

At the same time, there is no gospel of Mary. Rather, Mary lived the gospel path her son laid out for all of us. As a faithful follower of her Son, by her yes to God and her service, she showed us that we too can follow Jesus’ gospel path. Mary did not propose alternatives.

What Mary did say we read in today’s gospel: “From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” The entire Magnificat concerns what God has done and is doing. Mary is the vessel through which God would accomplish the works Mary praises. Accordingly, she deserves honor, respect, and the title blessed. Blessed is she among women because the fruit of her womb is the Blessed One.

So, what must we do with Mary? If we hold Mary in esteem, as we should, we honor her rightly. We must not ascribe to fanciful stories and romantic notions. We do not make her ‘appear’ over trees, in the hills, and on mountain sides sharing ‘special messages.’ We do not remove her humanity. We do not rush her resurrection from the dead. We follow the gospel path her Son Jesus laid out for us. We trust His words alone. We follow His teachings exclusively. We honor and esteem Mary. We seek her intercession.  We entrust ourselves to the power of her prayer before the Throne of God.

Bottom line is that we need not ‘do’ anything with the path of Mary’s life and death. We need not impose our fanciful stories and romantic notions on Mary. We need only trust that if we too follow Jesus like she did then we, like she, will be brought to life at Christ’s coming.

About the
when.

“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

It is often said that it is all about the timing. It is about being there when our ship comes in. Well. today the ship has really come in. Three special celebrations all in one day. We, of course, celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. We also honor our Blessed Mother, Mary, in a special way today crowning her with our admiration and love. Finally, we celebrate Mother’s Day. While these celebrations may seem somewhat disparate, there is a central theme that runs throughout. It is the theme of motherhood, of deep caring. About mom getting us to when.

As we consider the concept of motherhood, let us look at it from the angle of our mom’s, our Blessed Mother, and what the Good Shepherd left us, our Holy Mother, the Church.

Each of the ‘mom’s’ in our lives exist in time. Each of them has related to us throughout our lives in differing ways. Each of them has left an impact and a past. Each offers potential for the future. Each has been the source of tears and joys leading us to when.

We start with our mom’s. As we reflect on them we consider their experiences of us, and what they prepared for us. As we reflect on such things, we consider those many times mom may wondered about us. We also, and much more frequently, reflect on the happy moments. Those times mom was assured of our love, when she knew her counsel made a difference, when she had assurance of our ok’ness. For her, it is/was about our when, the opportunity of the moment – for us to have everything that really matters.

The same with our Blessed Mother. She holds out her hands to us. She watches over and intercedes for us. She certainly has wondered about us when we were distant from her Son. But there she is, always ready to help us come back. For her, it is about our when, the opportunity of the moment – for us to have everything that really matters.

Our Holy Mother, the Church, works diligently to raise us to the realization of Jesus’ intervention as Good Shepherd. We find Him holding the gate open, leading us, knowing us. For the Shepherd and His Holy Church it is about our when, the opportunity to have everything that really matters.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood

The words above are taken from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 20, verse 28. St. Paul is meeting with the elders – the Bishop and leadership of the Church in Ephesus. Paul speaks of how he was plotted against, how he held to the truth, and how he preached repentance. Paul focused on the example he set. He is telling the leadership to follow that example – to live it. In other letters, Paul spoke of how he worked for his own bread, how he battled temptations, and how he went willingly into the unknown for Jesus.

Many Roman Catholic faithful have been shocked and disturbed by recent and past revelations of evil doing, abuse, and how those acts have been covered over/covered up for decades. You may be among them, asking: ‘What happened to the example laid down by Paul and the other Apostles?’

All Christian faithful are supposed to live, first are foremost, the life of Jesus. We are all called to walk in the footsteps of the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. Paul did that! We ask again: ‘Shouldn’t the leadership of the worldwide Roman Church be on the same page?’

We feel for you and are sad for your experience. It is heartbreaking to have one’s trust broken repeatedly, to see one’s role models and leaders fall so hard by their own fault.

You may feel conflicted because we are all taught to forgive, to reconcile, but we know there are lines we cannot cross. We know that calls to prayer and fasting among the faithful laity are not enough. Real change is needed now. Meetings months from now isn’t soon enough. Committees and focus groups cannot be left to debate issues without real resolution. Vows of sorrow and pleas for forgiveness do not really change anything unless it is followed by action and significant change. You do not want to just sit in a pew for weeks, months, and years awaiting change. No reasonable person would.

Brothers and sisters,

We offer you an invitation. If you are looking to get away, to take a break for awhile, we can help. We offer you that break, a time away for peace, quiet, and prayer. We offer you solid Catholic worship and a chance to take a step away for healing.

We are not asking you to join our parish, or to leave the Roman Church. Come, pray and worship in surroundings that are comfortable and safe. Then, when you are ready, go back to start anew.

Note that Roman Catholics are allowed to receive the sacraments in our parish under the provisions of Canon 844.2 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law. Canon 844.2 states that the sacraments are lawfully received from a priest in the National Catholic Church: “Whenever necessity requires, or, a genuine spiritual advantage requires it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a [Roman] Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-[Roman] Catholic ministers in whose churches these sacraments are valid.”