8th Week in Ord. Time, Tuesday – 30th May 2023 – Sirach 35,1-12; Mark 10,28-31
In the first reading, we are reminded that almsgiving and charitable acts are the best responses to what God has already done for each one of us. It is important to offer to God a sacrifice of loving service rather than ritualistic offerings. The book of Sirach praises the life of those who act with justice and charity. Caring for others, giving to the poor, and treating people properly are more pleasing to God than animal sacrifices. Offering animals to God is not as demanding of the person as are continual actions of loving others. Charity is actually more reflective of a person’s mind set than giving money to kill an animal and offer to God. To live a deeply moral life is in itself a form of worship. There should never be a division between our worship in church and the way we lead our daily lives. Further, Sirach instructs more strongly, “Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed.” Here empty-handed does not mean coming without sacrificial offerings, but without a record of good behaviour and acts of kindness and help to those in need.
Monday after Pentecost, Mary, Mother of the Church – 29th May 2023 – Genesis 3,9-15.20 or Acts 1,12-14; Jn 19,25-34
Model of Faith and Worship
On March 3, 2018 Pope Francis approved and announced that the Monday after Pentecost as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church. Through Scripture and tradition, we see clearly how Mary has been “Mother of the Church.” She has been an excellent role model to be a loving mother, a devoted woman of faith, a disciple of Jesus and a servant to others. The title “Mary, Mother of the Church” is directly linked to Mary, Mother of God. Christ is described as the Head of the Church and followers are described as the Body of the Church. As Mary is the Mother of Christ, and Christ is the head of the Church, then Mary is the Mother of the Church.
In the Acts of the Apostles, Mary was there as a member of the first assembly of believers, participating in worship and prayer along with others. There were men and women, apostles and ordinary people, and even members of the Lord’s earthly family. However, it seems appropriate that Mary has been seen as the person to whom the early church looked in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus after his ascension into heaven. Mary is with the eleven before the choice of Matthias and also before Pentecost. The presence of Mary with the disciples whom Jesus left behind is an indication that she was an integral part of the ministry of Jesus. “By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity” (CCC 967). As mother of Jesus, she is also the mother also of the disciples and all others who believe in Jesus.