June 20, 2020 – Saturday, Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060820.cfm)
What is it that you consider as the dearest for you? Or who is it that you consider as the closest to your heart?
Yesterday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and today, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, his mother. The Sacred Heart of Jesus reminds us that God is indeed loving and forging, compassionate and merciful. And in that heart, we are the closest to God. We are God’s dearest people.
In this feast, the Gospel of Luke tells us who is the dearest and closest in the heart of Mary. This is where we could also find the strength of Mary. Just look at the image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Her son Jesus carried by her left arm also rests on her chest where her heart is.
Mary had been confused and afraid at the annunciation of the Angel. At that moment she too must have felt overwhelmed at God’s unfolding in her life. The events surrounding the birth of her son must have made her more confused at the amazement and joy she experienced. There were many events there that must be beyond her expectation.
In today’s Gospel, we were told how the young boy Jesus spent his days in the temple sitting among the teachers. But the words of the young boy Jesus, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” has left Mary and Joseph baffled. They must have felt the pain of the seemingly indifferent words of Jesus after their days of anxious finding of him. Those words were difficult to understand at that time.
However, just like at the annunciation, at the visitation of the Shepherds in the manger and now here, she kept all these things in her heart.
With all the complexities, strangeness and difficulty to understand the situation, Mary has kept the Lord close to her heart. She kept all those revelations from the Lord close to her heart that she may be able to understand them in the way God desires them to be understood.
This was how Mary would always find wisdom and strength because with the many events that happened in her life, she might not be able to bear them all. Mary will surely remained confused, afraid and unable to decide and do anything if she chose to distance herself from the Lord by reacting out of impulse or mere emotions.
“Keeping all those things in her heart” really means that she tried to understand how God was uncovering and revealing to her the plan of salvation. Mary realized that God reveals Himself every day. Mary did not want to miss all of them. Consequently, she sought the best way of understanding them by not reacting to every event through mere emotion or just out of compulsion.
Hence, Mary did not react out of anger or even disappointment in front of the young Jesus. Though she did not understand his words, but she must have felt that there was something deeper in there. God must be behind it. Thus, in her confusion, she kept all those things in her heart, to ponder them, to seek wisdom and understanding in the way God wants her to understand them.
But most of all, Mary was able to do that because within her heart, God is there already. She has welcomed the Lord and allowed the Lord to be always in her heart. This led her into that kind of understanding from God’s perspective and so she responded to every invitation of God for her, willingly and lovingly.
This is how we find Mary’s presence captivating in our Christian faith because her very life is an example of a perfect communion with God. This how we also find comfort in her, as a mother, because her human heart is touched by God’s heart.
Today’s feast, God’s invitation for us also is to grow in that area, that like Mary, our heart too will be more welcoming to the Lord and to allow the Lord to be in our heart. This is an invitation to make God as the closest and dearest in our heart. It is in this way that we shall also find understating, wisdom and strength in the many infoldings of events that happen to us everyday.
In particular, these days of the pandemic has made us feel uncertain of the coming days and anxious of the present. Many of us felt insecure materially, emotionally and perhaps also spiritually by now. However, do not waiver, do not remain stunned by these difficult days, remain vigilant instead by pondering and keeping all the things in our hearts.
May I invite you then, as we find our ways on how to live and adjust ourselves with the “New Normal” set aside a time to ponder, to listen deeper and carefully to the many events and circumstances happening in our life now. As we allow God to be closer to our heart and seek the Divine wisdom, we may also become more welcoming of the presence of others, more connected with people around us as Mary is to us. Hinaut pa.
Jomil Baring, CSsR