Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
May is the month of Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of His Church. By a happy coincidence, it is also the month in which, by civil custom, we celebrate a day in honor of our own mothers in specific, and all mothers in general. And by extension, we ought to include grandmothers, and the aunts, and all of the other fine ladies who have done so much to bring forth our children, to educate them, and to form them in the ways Christian civilization. Motherhood is a true vocation, a unique and sometimes exhausting one—one absolutely necessary for the existence and well-being of society. So thank you, ladies, and congratulations on your day.
I hope that everyone here, whose mother is still with us, will spend some time with her—in person if possible, or by telephone if it is not. And, for those not so lucky, let us not forget to join in prayer for all of our deceased parents during the offering of this Holy Sacrifice.
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There is only one Sunday left before we celebrate our Lord’s Ascension into heaven. The Church has us read this Gospel today—the words of our Lord at the Last Supper—so that we may know that Jesus did not leave His Apostles (or us) strictly alone when He returned to the Father.[i] He promised that in His place He would send an “Advocate,” Whom He identified as the “Spirit of Truth; Whom we know as the Holy Ghost, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
God, “the Father of lights,” Saint James tells us, is the ground of all truth, for He is “without change or shadow of alteration. And the Father “has begotten us by the Word of truth.” “Without Him was made nothing that has been made.”[ii] The “Word of Truth, of course, is Jesus Christ, “through Whom all things were made.” He is the Word, precisely because He is the expression of everything that God knows about Himself—which, by definition, must be Truth itself.
Saint James tells us that, of the multitude of things made by God through the “Word of Truth,” we are “the first fruits of His creation. And we know from the Old Testament, that after creating all things, God gave mankind dominion over all the other creatures of the earth. He made his “first fruits” “in His own image and likeness ... male and female He created man, telling them to increase and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; the fishes of the sea; the birds of the air; the beasts; the whole earth; and every thing that moved upon the face of the earth.”[iii]
And when the first fruits of His creation were false to Him, gainsaying His command and falling from grace, He sent His only-begotten Son, the Word of Truth, into the world to “turn our lies back into truth again”—to restore faith and fidelity among mankind.
By the time depicted in today’s Gospel, most of our Lord’s work on earth was complete. Born of the Virgin Mary in fulfillment of prophecy.[iv] Born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of prophecy.[v] He was a prophet despised in His own land.[vi] One Who rendered good for the evil done to Him. It was left, only, that in the next three days He would suffer, die, and rise from the dead. The after forty days of being with His disciples again, the “Word of Truth” was taken up bodily into heaven.
Ten days later, at Pentecost, the promised Advocate, the “Spirit of Truth” descended upon the Apostles, and Mary, and a few of the other disciples. This was the first Confirmation—the people who had gathered in the upper room received the indwelling Holy Ghost, together with all of the gifts which accompany Him; an increase in sanctifying grace; the virtues of faith, hope and charity; and the seven gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
The Gospel says that the Holy Ghost would “convict” the world of sin, and justice, and judgment—perhaps that word should be translated rather as “demonstrate” or to “show forth,” or to “witness,” rather than “convict.” The Holy Ghost, and all who have received Him in Confirmation, are witnesses to sin in this world—the foremost sin being disbelief in Jesus Christ and the rejection of God. We are witnesses to justice, for Jesus Christ Who is all good, has been taken up to heaven, and will prepare a place for those who strive to emulate His goodness. Together with the Holy Ghost we are witnesses to the fact that Satan, the prince of the world, has been judged, as will all those who choose to emulate the devil rather than Jesus Christ.
Today is Mothers’ Day, which should call to mind the model of all motherhood which we find in Mary the Blessed Mother of God. It is a contention of many theologians that the Immaculate Conception of Mary took place in the mind of God eons before it took place physically in the womb of Saint Anne. In fact when we celebrate feasts of the Blessed Virgin (as we did yesterday—Our Lady of Fatima) we often read from the “Sapiential Books” of the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, and the Book of Wisdom. In those readings, Mary is referred to as wisdom personified. In the passages we read, wisdom is speaking about herself, and her origin in God. Wherever we hear the pronoun “I” or “me” we can substitute either the word “wisdom” or the name of “Mary.”
None of this should be surprising. It is clearly appropriate that the Mother of Truth is Wisdom. How could there be anyone more wise than the woman who carried Truth within herself for nine months; the woman who taught Him His first words, His first prayers, His first knowledge of the God of Israel?
So what have we learned? God is without change, knowing Himself and His unchanging Truth from all eternity. So we learn a love for truth, in our speech and our writings to be sure, but in all things. God sent the Word of Truth to redeem us: the great sin is not to believe in Him, and to be judged along with the devil. So we must do our best to know God and His Truth, so that we may better love and serve Him. Christ sent the Spirit of Truth to teach us all the truth; to infuse us with sanctifying grace; faith, hope and charity; and those seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. So we must respond to those graces, keeping ourselves far from sin, and remaining always temples of the Holy Ghost. God begot Mary, “the firstborn of His ways,” the “Seat of Wisdom.”[x] So we must seek her, for those who seek her “will find life, and will have salvation from the Lord.”
God has not abandoned His people. His Truth remains with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and in the Spirit of Truth, the Advocate, the Holy Ghost, who takes up His rest in the souls of those who love the Truth. He has give us His Mother to be our Mother, Holy Wisdom, the Mother of Truth, “all the grace of the way and of the truth ... all hope of life and of virtue.”