Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Br. David Allen, SSJE
Here is this morning’s Sermon. I realized when I was scheduled to preach today that it had been some time since one of us had explained why we observe some Commemorations. I was given support in doing this for today. I read over the Gospel lesson several times and it seemed to develop by itself.
For many years, perhaps from the very beginning, it has been our custom in the SSJE to designate open Saturdays as Commemorations of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Currently this is done in Ordinary Time, after the Feast of Pentecost until just before Advent.
This Commemoration reminds us both of the role of Mary as God-Bearer, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of her role within the Communion of Saints as Intercessor.
A good example of Mary as Intercessor is seen in the Gospel reading used today, Jesus’ first sign given at the Wedding Feast at Cana of Galilee. (Jn 2:1-11)
Mary was at that Wedding Feast as a friend of the Bride and Bridegroom, but also as the Mother of Jesus. Mary noticed the supply of wine had given out. She spoke to Jesus, knowing that he could do something about the situation. Jesus’ first reaction was to say that it was not their responsibility. He added that the time for him to act had not yet come. But Mary intervened, telling the servants to do anything that Jesus asked.
You heard the reading. You know what happened. 180 gallons of water became high quality wine. The reputation of the chief steward of the banquet was saved. The bride and bridegroom were saved from embarrassment. Only the servants, Jesus, his mother, and his disciples, knew the source of that fine wine. That intervention, Mary telling the servants to do whatever Jesus might ask, was certainly a kind of intercession.
We know that after Jesus’ Ascension Mary, the mother of Jesus met together with the remaining eleven Apostles and certain women constantly devoting themselves to prayer. (Cf. Acts1:14)
Subsequently, prayer continued and developed. For hundreds of years some form of the Angelus in which the prayers of Mary are asked has been a valued devotion.
Each day before Morning and Evening Prayer here at the monastery, when we recite the Angelus we include this intercession asking Mary’s prayers for us: “Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”
Does this example of the prayer of Mary help you understand why we have days on which we commemorate what she means to us?
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