Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Sunday Within the Octave of the Ascension—5 June A.D. 2011

Have a constant mutual charity among yourselves”

Our Lady Queen of the Apostles

Ordinary of the Mass
Sunday Mass Text - Latin
Sunday Mass 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....1  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 sins.2  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.3  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 charity.”

    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.”4  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.


2  Epistle 1 Peter iv: 7-11

4  Gospel: John xv: 26-27; xvi: 1-4





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