May 14, 2006

Mother’s Day, Mother’s Month, Mother’s Gospel

Since the time of the Civil War, the United States has had a Mother’s Day. We now observe it on the second Sunday of May— this year, May 14.

However, Christians have specially dedicated the entire month of May to the Mother of God since about A.D. 1300.

The feast to commemorate Mary’s visit to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56) used to be on July 2. We now celebrate it on the last day of May, a fitting climax to the month we have already dedicated to her.

The providential beauty of having the feast of the Visitation crown Mary’s month is that the Visitation is the first event in the Gospel at which Mary is called “mother” literally. In fact, the Gospel of the Visitation addresses her as a royal mother: THE MOTHER OF MY LORD.
LUKE 1:39-56
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb;
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
and she exclaimed with a loud cry,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb!And why is this granted me,
that THE MOTHER OF MY LORD should come to me?
For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears,
the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

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I have made reference to mothers in my homily for the fifth Sunday of Easter. See my homily blog.
Click HERE for it.

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