Daily Reflections

Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary   •  Luke 2:41-51 (Memorial)

It is easy for any parent reading today’s Gospel to imagine the deep anxiety and self-reproach that must have filled the hearts of Mary and Joseph as they discovered after a whole day’s journey that Jesus was not with the group with whom they were travelling. Furthermore, we can identify with their immense relief mixed with distress when they found their son.

This event in the life of the Holy Family helps us to appreciate how completely human Mary was and to marvel at the wonder of God’s grace at work in her heart. More than twelve years earlier Mary had listened to the angel Gabriel reveal to her that Jesus was the ‘Son of the Most High’ (Luke 1:32). Like all of us, Mary depended on the light of the Holy Spirit to help her understand what God had shown her, and clearly reflected deeply on what God was doing: ‘Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart’ (Luke 2:19); ‘his mother kept all these things in her heart’ (v. 51).

We learn here that Mary’s heart was above all else a mother’s heart, full of love for her son. Though she is mentioned very few times in the Gospels during the ministry of Jesus, she closely followed all he did and she was one of the few who accompanied him to Calvary. She was praying with the group of believers on the Day of Pentecost and is still intimately involved in the work of her son, wanting us to know him and love him too.

Mary’s heart experienced deep pain as Simeon prophesied to her (Luke 2:34). She came to realize that love involves total self-giving. She not only said to the angel: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:38), but lived those words humbly. Mary has a firm and faithful heart, and so is a model for us.

‘O immaculate Heart!…From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us…From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us. From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us. From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us. Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the suffering of whole societies.’

1 Kings 19:19-21  •  Psalm 15:1-2, 5, 7-10
Luke 2:41-51

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