Christ is the son of Mary: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: White.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been given the title of Mother of the Church since she gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Church, and she became the Mother of the redeemed people before her Son had given up the spirit on the Cross. Pope Paul VI solemnly confirmed the title in an address to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council on 21 November 1964 and decreed that the whole Christian people should, by the use of this beautiful title, give still greater honour to the Mother of God.
‘The joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on his nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. In some ways this was already present in the mind of the Church from the premonitory words of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great. In fact the former says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church’ (Decree of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship).
In other years: Saint Norbert (1080 - 1134)
He was born in Xanten in the Rhineland. He came of a noble family and lived a worldly life at the courts of the Archbishop of Cologne (where he held some minor benefices) and of the Emperor Henry V.
At the age of 35 he had a narrow escape from death and his life changed. He became a priest and was full of reforming zeal, which so antagonized the clergy of Xanten that they denounced him as a hypocrite. So he sold or gave away all his possessions and made his way to the Pope (who was then in southern France). The Pope gave him permission to preach wherever he lived, and he travelled through France and Germany preaching. Others joined him, and a community was started in the valley of Prémontré near Laon, which developed into an order (the Premonstratensian Order) with a number of abbeys.
Meanwhile Norbert continued travelling and preaching, until he was consecrated Archbishop of Magdeburg. He threw himself into his new task with his usual enthusiasm, reforming what had been a rather corrupt diocese, antagonizing the clergy (who had established a comfortable life for themselves) and some of the laity, who had quietly taken possession of unwatched church properties – several attempts were made to murder him. He also preached the gospel to the pagans of the district, and died (of natural causes) in 1134.
Other saints: Saint Marcellin Champagnat (1789 - 1840)
Australia, New Zealand
He was born at Marlhes, a village in the mountains of south-eastern France. The village was poor, and Marcellin had virtually no education. When he was 14, a priest who was passing through the village helped him to recognise his vocation to the priesthood, and he began to study. Life was hard, and he was tempted to give up, but he was ordained priest in 1816.
By then he, with other seminarians, had conceived the idea of a Society of Mary, to include teaching brothers who would work with children who were deprived of Christian education by the remoteness of the areas in which they lived.
When Marcellin was working as a curate, an encounter with a dying 17-year-old boy, with the body of a weak 12-year-old and complete ignorance of Christianity, convinced him that it was time to act. In 1817 he founded the Marist Brothers. Mostly teenage peasants themselves, they were taught how to pray and live in religious community and sent them out to be teachers and religious educators themselves. They went into the remotest villages and taught children, and often the adults, the rudiments of the faith, and how to read and write.
There were many difficulties, not least the incomprehension of the local clergy, but things gradually got better. Marcellin was freed from his parish duties in 1825 and in 1836 the Church recognised the Society of Mary and entrusted to it the missions of Oceania. The first missionaries were sent out in the same year.
Worn out by the effort of obtaining official recognition, and after suffering long and painfully from cancer, Marcellin died on 6 June 1840. The order he founded continues to thrive: today there are about 5,000 Marist brothers.
Other saints: Saint Jarlath (- 540/550)
He founded a monastery at Tuam and became the first Bishop of that see. See the article in Wikipedia
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Paul VI (1897-1978)
Giovanni Battista Montini was born on 26 September 1897 in the village of Concesio, in the province of Brescia, Lombardy. He was ordained priest on 29 May 1920 and worked in the Roman Curia, the Vatican civil service, until he was made Archbishop of Milan in 1954. He was elected Pope on 21 June 1963, successfully saw the Vatican Council through to its completion, promoted the renewal of the Church’s life and especially of the liturgy. He also promoted ecumenical dialogue and the proclamation of the Gospel to the modern world. He died on 6 August 1978.
He was canonized by Pope Francis in 2018.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Jeremiah 31:33 ©|
This is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Jeremiah 32:40 ©|
I will make an everlasting covenant with them. I will not cease in my efforts for their good, and I will put respect for me into their hearts, so that they turn from me no more.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Ezekiel 34:31 ©|
You, my sheep, are the flock I shall pasture, and I am your God – it is the Lord who speaks.