Sunday Mass Text - Latin
Text - English
Yesterday we celebrated the feast in honor of
Mary as Queen of Apostles. The epistle was that of the Ascension, plus a few
more verses. It concludes with a mention of the remaining eleven Apostles
returning to the Upper Room of the Last Supper from the Mount of Olives, and
saying that: “All these with one mind continued steadfastly in prayer with
the women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus....”
The scriptural evidence we have suggests that all of these people remained in
that room until the feast of Pentecost, some nine days later. We can say that,
they made the first novena.
From this account we might well draw the
lesson that the Blessed Virgin should always be involved in our prayers.
Certainly, our Lord will refuse nothing asked on our behalf by His holy Mother.
You will recall that at the wedding at Cana she was the one to recognize the
embarrassment of the bridal couple, and bring it to her Son's attention—even
though “it was not yet His time.” Nonetheless, it does not hurt at all to bring
our petitions to her, asking for the things we need, and honoring her in prayer,
knowing that she will ask our Lord for everything that is truly good for us and
for those for whom we pray.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of
our death.” It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine any title that
would honor her more than “Mother of God.” And difficult to imagine anything
more prudent than asking for her prayers in the present, while never failing to
seek her aid at the time most critical to our salvation.
Saint Peter today urges us to “have a
constant mutual charity among yourselves; for charity covers a multitude of
We might ask why the Church has us read his epistle today as we prepare for the
feast of Pentecost next Sunday?
The first reason might be that “mutual
charity,” or love for one another, is what the people in the Upper Room shared
as they prepared for the coming of the Holy Ghost. Every person in that room
was united by the love of Jesus Christ—by loving Him without reservation. they
loved each other for the sake of Him. Jesus is God, the Second Person of the
Blessed Trinity, and “God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth
in God, and God in him.”
Saint Augustine suggests that God knows Himself from all eternity, and His self
knowledge is so powerful that it actually has existence as His Word, the Son of
God—and that also from eternity the Father and the Son love each other with a
love so powerful that it actually has existence in the Holy Ghost. What better
way to prepare for the reception of God's Love than by this “constant mutual
The Gospel gives us another reason: “Those
who do not know the Father ... will expel you from the synagogues. Yes, the hour
is coming for anyone who kills you to think that he is offering worship to God.”
Christians have three advocates before the Father in Heaven, the Holy
Ghost, the Divine Son, and His Holy Mother. But there is no guarantee that any
of these heavenly advocates would intervene to stop the persecution of
Christians—indeed, persecution seems to be something of a badge of authenticity
for the followers of Christ. Pope Saint Pius X is said to have suggested that
“Persecution” was one of the “Marks of the True Church,” in addition to being
“One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.” Generally, it is the martyrs whom we
venerate, those of the Church militant, rather than those of the
Church comfortable. And even among those saints who were not martyrs, we often
find that their lives were filled with sufferings and earthly difficulties. It
is important for the persecuted to be able to place their unconditional trust in
each other. Again, we are called to “constant mutual charity.”
I say “we are called” for Saint Peter's words
extend far beyond the first century and the members of the early Church. When
our Lord spoke of “Those who do not know the Father,” He did not mean
only the Jews who had rejected Him, but all those down through the
centuries who would pursue false gods, and false religions, or no God at all.
We need to be supportive of one another, regardless of who the current
persecutor might be—whether it be the Sanhedrin, the Romans, the Moslems, the
Communists, the Nazis, the Progressives, or the New World Order—whether the
persecution comes form the Church or the State. Make no mistake about it, the
persecutors of the twenty-first century are just as upset with those who strive
to practice the Catholic Faith, as were their counterparts in the first
century. Two thousand years have not changed that—and should the world survive
another two thousand, that will not change it either.
So, as we prepare for the celebration of
Pentecost next week—and, indeed, throughout the entire year, let us never lose
sight of the need to keep the Holy Mother of God in our prayers, and the need to
have a constant mutual charity among ourselves.