Mary Mother of the Church – Same mother, new feast
May 20, 2018
Back in February of this year Pope Francis gave the Church a new feast day. Every year the day after Pentecost is now the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, has urged priests to make celebrating this memorial a priority and he said that the readings the Church chose for this feast “illuminate the mystery of spiritual motherhood.” So I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on these readings and discover what it means for Mary to be our mother and the Mother of the Church.
The Church gives us two options for the first reading, one of them is from the Acts of the Apostles (I’ll get back to that one) and the other is from Genesis (Gen 3:9-15, 20). This second option is the story of when God confronts Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit. During that conversation with our first parents, God turned his attention to the serpent and made this remarkable statement:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
This is the first prediction of Mary and Jesus in scripture. Adam and Eve sinned only minutes before and God already has a plan for how he’s going to fix things. The serpent (representing the devil, sin, and death) will be delivered a fatal blow to the head by a descendant of Eve.