Fr. John Eudes, OCSO
Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Whereas today we offer this mass in honor of the Bl. Virgin Mary, yet the readings we have just heard are those of the day. They contain no reference to the Mother of our Lord, and yet they remind us of the sufferings she endured through her profound love for Jesus in his passion. We realize, as we listen to the trials of Jeremiah. We are reminded in this first reading not only of his trials but also of his dispositions. He expresses his attitude in personal terms when he states “I am in your power, do with me what you think is good and right.” He does not stop with that statement, however, but adds a strong warning . “if you put me to death it is innocent blood you bring on your selves and on this city.”
In marked contrast with how the Jews reacted when Pilate declared that he found no guilt in Jesus, the officials admitted that Jeremiah was innocent of any crime. Mary was familiar with the story of Jeremiah, we can be sure, but had to endure the death of her Son by crucifixion when the Jewish leaders pressed their murderous demands.
The Gospel we have just listened to tell the distressing story of the murder of Saint John the Baptist. His death preceded that of Jesus and surely made it evident how dangerous the situation in the country was for Jesus. John was a relative of Mary and his martyrdom was felt by her as a further threat to her own Son.
And so as we honor our Blessed Mother in this mass today, we do well to recall the sorrow that were to pierce her heart from the earliest days. Simeon had predicted to her that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart. Such was her life from her youth to the end. As we honor her today let us ask that we prove worthy of her care and intercession by lives of trusting faith in good times and in times of suffering and trial.