Mother Mary novena

One good way to prepare for a Marian event is to spend a few minutes each of nine days some time prior to the occasion by meditating on the gospel readings provided below. These are all the passages in the four gospels that mention Mary (or Jesus’ mother).

They will help you get to know her better and learn much from her. Notice how quiet she is, how humble, and simple: no fanfare or boasting after God’s momentous Annunciation through His archangel, or when shepherds reported the glorious apparition of angels at Jesus’ birth, or after the Presentation in the temple in the presence of prophets, or when visited by wise visionaries from the east. Mary’s Song, filled with profound spiritual wisdom, was spoken in the hearing of just one person, Elizabeth. At the wedding feast in Cana she acted behind the scenes to alert Jesus concerning the shortage of wine – allowing Jesus to be glorified, not herself. Superficiality finds no place in this exemplary saint par excellence.

 

Everyone should learn from Mother Mary. Those who crave to be noticed and admired at every social function and religious gathering, should learn from her. Those who pride themselves for their exceptional talents and accomplishments, their superior knowledge and personality, should learn from her. Those who are puffed-up by the gift of the gab, who broadcast their pious utterances and cute remarks for the sake of fame and recognition, should learn from her.

 

In honour of Mary’s position as the Mother God, you may also use this novena to ask her intercession for prayer requests. She is full of grace, but does not keep them for herself. She will give them to you and, as a loving mother, will ask for more graces from God on your behalf.

 

At the end of each meditation, please answer the question(s) in a thoughtful way. What is it that makes Mary so useful to God that he sends her as his messenger to appear on earth again and again ever since the first century of the Christian era?

 

Day 1

Genealogy

“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, … Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, … Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” (Mt 1:1–16, NIV)

The annunciation

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;

and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,

and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;

and of his kingdom there will be no end.’

And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her,

‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;

therefore the child to be born will be called holy,

the Son of God.

     And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’” (Lk 1:26–37, RSV)

“Mary said, ‘You see before you the Lord’s servant, let it happen to me as you have said.’ And the angel left her.” (Lk 1:38, NJB)

 

Questions:

What is your response when you are called by God to do something? At what stage will your reply be: “You see before you the Lord’s servant, let it happen to me as you have said”?

The angel told Mary: “For nothing is impossible to God.” Do you dare ask the Lord for great and noble things and truly believe that he can give them to you? What are your prayer requests?

Please share one experience in which God blessed an extraordinary petition of yours.

 

Day 2

The visitation

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!’

Mary’s Song

And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.’ Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.” (Lk 1:39-56, NIV)

 

Questions:

What does this mean: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant”?

How does one “fear” God? [Please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_God, and Mt 10:28, Heb 10:26 – 31, and 2 Thes 1:5–10.]

The following sentences show what happens to the proud, the powerful and the rich: “he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, … but has sent the rich away empty.” Which sentences in Mary’s Song describe God’s mercy towards the humble, those who fear the Lord, and the hungry?

In what ways are you rich: money, talents, knowledge, position of influence, friends, popularity, …?

How would you live in genuine humility so that the Mighty One will show you his mercy and do great things for you, and through you, unto generations upon generations?

 

Day 3

Joseph takes Mary as his wife

“Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child

and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”’ When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” (Mt 1:18–24, NAB)

The birth of Jesus

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Lk 2:1–7, NAB)

The shepherds

“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

‘Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to those on

whom his favor rests.’

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” (Lk 2:8–20, NAB)

 

Questions:

How do the following proclamations impact your outlook on this sinful world? One: Joseph is told that Mary’s son, Jesus, “will save his people from their sins.” Two: the angel said to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”

If you ask God in faith for a favour, what does it take for you to start conducting yourself as though the favour is already happening? “When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went in haste…”

 

Day 4

The presentation in the temple

“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,’ and to offer the sacrifice of ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,’ in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

‘Now, Master, you may let your servant go

in peace, according to your word,

for my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and glory for your people Israel.’

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’ There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Lk 2:22–38, NAB)

 

Question:

What insights have you learned from Simeon’s prayer: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation”? Please share one personal incidence.

 

Day 5

The wise men

“After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea, for this is what the prophet wrote:

And you, Bethlehem,

in the land of Judah,

you are by no means the least

among the leaders of Judah,

for from you will come a leader

who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared and sent them on to Bethlehem with the words, ‘Go and find out all about the child, and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were given a warning in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.” (Mt 2:1–12, NJB)

The escape to Egypt

“After they had left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’

So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

Herod was furious on realising that he had been fooled by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or less, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. Then were fulfilled the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

A voice is heard in Ramah,

lamenting and weeping bitterly:

it is Rachel weeping for her children,

refusing to be comforted

because they are no more.” (Mt 2:13–18, NJB)

 

Question:

On coming close to baby Jesus, the wise men were filled with joy and, “falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

What treasures will you give to Jesus?

Here is a beautiful gift we can bring to him after introspection and conversion. The wise men, cautioned not to go home retracing their former steps, took a far better route. Let’s ask ourselves: “What’s wrong with the way I was going on? Why did I constantly thirst for vain-glory and praise? Is that not pride? Is that not self-destructive in the long run? Didn’t I already know the warning: ‘For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’ (Mt 23:12, NIV)? Shouldn’t I begin anew on a holier path – the path of humility?”

 

Day 6

The return to Nazareth      

“After Herod’s death, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:

He will be called a Nazarene.” (Mt 2:19–23, NJB)

Finding Jesus in the Temple

“Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.’ And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” (Lk 2:41–52, NAB)

 

Questions:

If Jesus was the Son of God, why did he need to advance in wisdom? Wasn’t he wise already? Why did he have to obey Mary and Joseph? [Please check Philippians 2:5–9.]

If Mary and Joseph searched for Jesus, are they not also searching for you? Will you heed them?

As Jesus lived in obedience to Mother Mary, he advanced in wisdom and age and favour before God and man. Have you lived in obedience to her? How have you advanced in wisdom and favour with God?

 

Day 7

Cana

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’

‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’

His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”’

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside  and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples.” (Jn 2:1–12, NIV)

 

Questions:

Why did Mary initiate the action that started the miracle? If Mary said nothing, wouldn’t Jesus have noticed the problem and performed the miracle anyway?

If Mary asks you to do whatever Jesus tells you, would you do it? Would you carry out everything Jesus tells you in the Gospel?

Please share one experience in which Mother Mary inspired you to do something, and you responded.

 

Day 8

The rejection of Jesus

“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mk 6:1–6, NIV)

Jesus’ spiritual family

“Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’” (Lk 8:19–21, NIV)

“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” (Lk 11:27–28, NIV)

This is your mother

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Jn 19:25–27, NJB)

 

 

Questions:

If Jesus tells you that Mary is your mother, would you take her into your own home immediately? For her to be your mother, you would have to “hear the word of God and obey it.” How often would you read the word of God in the Gospel and put Jesus’ commands into practice?

 

Day 9

Do the following devotion: The Joys of Mary.

 

The Joys of Mary

Traditionally, the Church contemplates Mother Mary’s sorrows. Here is an additional devotion based on her joys. You are invited to spend a minute or two, now and then, pondering one of her ecstatic moments, feeling the peace, the relief, the triumph, the surprise, the wonderment and the gratitude that she experienced.

1/. She is greeted by the Angel Gabriel: “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you…. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. Behold, you will conceive in our womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

2/. She is affirmed by Elizabeth who, filled with the Holy Spirit, calls her “the mother of my Lord.”

3/. She can no longer contain her exhilaration and bursts out in song, humbly admitting to Elizabeth: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked upon the lowliness of his handmaid. Behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

4/. The Lord’s angel tells Joseph in a dream to marry her: what is conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. Their Son would save his people from their sins.

5/. Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem, city of ancestor David. They find a place to stay. Jesus is born. Mary is bathed in rapturous jubilation as she gazes upon her beautiful Son, pressing him ever so tenderly to her maternal heart.

6/. The angel of the Lord appears gloriously to shepherds to announce that the new-born baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger in Bethlehem is the Saviour, Messiah and Lord. They come to tell Mary and Joseph. Mary treasures all these things and ponders them in her heart.

7/. Simeon, guided by the Holy Spirit, sees Jesus at the presentation in the temple. Satisfied that Jesus is the Christ, he prophesies about him. The holy prophetess Anna thanks God and speaks of Jesus to many.

8/. Led by a star, wise men come with gifts from the East to adore Jesus – referring to him as the infant king of the Jews.

9/. The angel of the Lord alerts Joseph in a dream to get up, take the child and his mother, and depart for Egypt by night. They are to stay there until further notice. They escape slaughter by Herod.

10/. When Herod dies, the angel of the Lord tells Joseph in a dream to go with child and mother to Israel. Informed by the angel in another dream, Joseph withdraws to Galilee, settling in Nazareth. Again and again, Joseph proves to be guided by the Lord. Mary is very happy to have a totally trustworthy and holy husband.

11/. At age twelve, unknown to his parents, Jesus stays behind in Jerusalem after the customary days of celebrating the Passover feast, while Mary and Joseph travel homeward to Nazareth. After three days of anxious searching, they find him safe and sound in the temple conversing with the teachers. Mary is glad to hear Jesus say: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” She keeps this in her heart.

12/. Jesus lives obediently under his parents in Nazareth, and grows up a very good boy, increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

13/. Before beginning his ministry around the age of thirty, at the River Jordan, Jesus is publicly identified by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

14/. After Jesus is baptized by John, the heavens open, and the Spirit of God descends on him like a dove. A voice from heaven is heard, certifying, “This is my beloved Son, with him I am well pleased.”

15/. At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, prompted by his mother, Jesus works his first miracle, changing water into wine. It manifests his glory; and the disciples believe in him.

16/. In the power of the Spirit, Jesus goes about the Holy Land doing good, preaching, healing, performing miracles, and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. His followers multiply in number.

17/. On Palm Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly. The people honour him, crying aloud: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”

18/. At the Last Supper, Jesus institutes the Holy Eucharist. Henceforth, he is physically present on earth with his Church.

19/. Jesus’ love is boundless. He does not hesitate to give his life as a ransom for his people; he allows himself to be humiliated, mistreated and crucified. From the cross, he tells his Father: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” There is no bitterness.

20/. Jesus assures the repentant thief, “This day you will be with me in Paradise!” Mary is overjoyed to see her Son rescuing his people, for that was why he came into the world.

21/. Jesus does not forget his mother; to her and to the beloved disciple (representing all) he says: “Woman, this is your son! … This is your mother!” And from that hour the disciple takes her into his own home.

22/. The Son of God is the only person who can redeem the world. Jesus does not appeal to his Father for legions of angels to call off his suffering and death. He exclaims: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

23/. As he dies, Jesus declares: “It is fulfilled.” Seeing how Jesus died, the Roman centurion asserts: “Truly, this man was the Son of God.”

24/. Jesus is placed in the tomb. He suffers no more. He descends to the dead to free the holy souls.

25/. On the third day Jesus rises from the dead. He is vindicated in glory. The bodies of many holy people who died are raised, and coming out of the tombs they appear in Jerusalem.

26/. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, and to his friends and disciples. He spends forty wonderful days with them in Galilee.

27/. Jesus is taken up to Heaven and sits at the right hand of God.

28/. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes in power upon Mary and the disciples. Thousands are converted.

29/. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples go about the country and beyond, doing good, preaching, healing, performing miracles, and proclaiming the Kingdom of God and the sacred and imperishable good news of eternal salvation.

30/. When the course of her earthly life is completed, Mary is taken up body and soul into Heaven.

31/. Mary is exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things.

32/. In Heaven, the Mother of God continues to care for her children. Throughout the centuries, countless miracles are attributed to her manifold intercession. At various times, God sends her to appear on earth to guide the Church.

33/. At this very moment, as you bring her into your heart and speak with her, she is joyful beyond words.

 

Questions:

What are some good and bad episodes which happened in your own life?

Please share one or two major episodes.

Are you willing to find the silver lining which exists in each adverse occasion? How would you turn your moans and groans into shouts of joy and triumph?

 

 

Consecration

Dear Mother Mary, you have guided and looked after Jesus from the instant of his conception to the hour of his death. Under your care, he advanced in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and man. I humbly ask you to similarly guide and look after me, my family and loved ones, and all your people.

In complete faith and trust, I solemnly consecrate myself and all of us to your Holy and Immaculate Heart, O Mother, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Acknowledgments
In this work, the initials RSV indicate that the Scripture quotations are from the REVISED STANDARD VERSION BIBLE, Second Catholic Edition, copyright © 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Any passage designated NJB is an excerpt from THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright © 1998 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted by permission.
Texts followed by the letters NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In this work, Scripture excerpts marked NAB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN BIBLE REVISED EDITION copyright © 2011, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used with permission. All rights reserved.

Mother Mary

Please examine the gospel passage below and keep these questions at the back of your mind as you read it. In the narrative, how many people received directives from Jesus and immediately did what they were told? What was the final result of their action? Who initiated the proceedings?

 

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (Jn 2:1-11, NIV)

 

 

Jesus’ answer to his mother meant: “Why do you involve me? What has this got to do with me? My hour has not yet come, has it? Did you not tell me at age twelve when you found me at the temple in Jerusalem that I should stay quietly at home in Nazareth?”

Besides, at the temple in Jerusalem, the teachers who heard the young lad speak were astounded by his answers and his understanding; but there was no indication that he could perform miracles.

Jesus’ order to the servants: “Fill the jars with water.” To the servants, that must have sounded quite irrational. At what part of the wedding feast did this happen: at the beginning, or the middle, or towards the end? Obviously it was towards the end; otherwise the wine would not have run out. Even the steward retorted to the bridegroom: “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” The water was for ritual-washing at the guests’ arrivals. Nobody else was going to arrive anymore. Why should all the jars be filled?

But the servants did everything as Jesus had instructed them, and filled the six jars to the brim.

Then they were told to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet to drink. The “servants who had drawn the water knew” it was water, and it must have seemed rather ridiculous too – get the steward to taste water reserved for washing???

But they did take it to the steward – who drank it.

 

The servants plus the master of the banquet received directives from Jesus, and all of them did as they were told, immediately.

The final result: Jesus “revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”

That was the point of the story: Jesus’ glory was revealed when people followed his orders.

 

When Jesus tells you to do something, do it! Yes, read the gospel, but don’t just stop there. Heed his instructions and act on them.

The blessedness of Jesus’ followers is measured by how obediently they carry out the word of the Lord, not by how many religious conferences they attend or how much theology they know, not by how frequently they come up with pious remarks or how nice-sounding are the prayers they say, not by how busy they are involved in spiritual activities or how impressively they perform rituals in the sight of men, not by how popular they can become or how many famous people they are associated with.

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:28, NIV)

“My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Lk 8:21, RSV)

 

Who initiated the proceedings at Cana that led to the first of the signs through which Jesus revealed his glory?

It was Mother Mary!

Her purpose: draw attention to her Son.

That was her vocation; it still is today.

And her command will always be: Do whatever Jesus tells you!

 

 

Acknowledgments

In this work, the initials RSV indicate that the Scripture quotations are from the REVISED STANDARD VERSION BIBLE, Second Catholic Edition, copyright © 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Any passage designated NJB is an excerpt from THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright © 1998 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

Texts followed by the letters NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

In this work, Scripture excerpts marked NAB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN BIBLE REVISED EDITION copyright © 2011, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used with permission. All rights reserved.

This is my body

This is my BodyJesus said, “This is my Body… This is my Blood” (Mk 14:22, 24).

Similar sayings are in Luke and Matthew, but not in John – where the Last Supper scene describes the washing of the Apostles’ feet. The discourse on Holy Communion in John, however, is found in Chapter Six, starting at verse 35 and intensifying from verse 48 onwards.

“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51).

“In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53).

“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (Jn 6:55).

The above are Jesus’ teachings in the synagogue at Capernaum. Below are the reactions from some of his listeners. “After hearing it, many of his followers said, ‘This is intolerable language! How could anyone accept it?’… After this many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more” (Jn 6:60, 66).

Many Christians interpret Jesus’ sayings literally. The disciples in the above Gospel passage certainly did. It was the reason they left him.

While they were walking off, a most astounding thing happened. Jesus did not shout out after them in panic: “Wait. Stop. Please don’t go. I am sorry. I used the wrong words. I was only speaking in symbols. I don’t mean what you think I was saying. You don’t eat me – you eat bread and drink wine.” No! He let them go. He was speaking literally! He meant what he said. This was the sacrament of his limitless love, the food that would lead to life everlasting, and one tangible way he chose to keep his promise: “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20).

He asserted, “Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day” (Jn 6:54).

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person” (Jn 6:56).

“As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me” (Jn 6:57).

************

Jesus sometimes identifies himself (or someone else, e.g., John the Baptist or St. Paul identify him) as an entity like the lamb of God, or the good shepherd, or light, love, peace, the resurrection, etc. An example is seen in the gospel according to John where Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6). This is different from saying, “I show the way, I proclaim the truth, I give life.” Jesus is telling us that to find the way we have to walk along him, to know the truth we need to know him, to have life we must live in him and let him live in us.

So, when he says, “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:35), what do you think he wants you to do?

 

At Cana in Galilee, the first time a description of Jesus at a banquet was recorded, he changed water into wine. At the upper room in Bethany, the last time a description of Jesus at a banquet on earth was chronicled, Jesus changed wine into his own blood. At Calvary, on the cross, as he died, he was pierced on the side, and his blood poured forth into the world for the redemption of those who wanted it.

At the Last Supper, he had taken a cup and, after giving thanks, he handed it to the disciples saying: “Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. From now on, I tell you, I shall never again drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.” (Mt 26:27-29)

If you want to be at the final banquet, the one in Heaven, do as Jesus commanded.

 

(The above Biblical quotations are taken from the New Jerusalem Bible.)

 

 

Ask receive, search find

(A). Internet
“What is blindness? How is it healed?” Do you want to know? On your computer or smart phone just enter the questions into a search engine, like Google, and you will receive answers. If one answer is not good enough, keep asking till you find what you are looking for.

Similarly, if you want to know about other topics, do the same: ask receive, search find.

(B). Jesus
In the Bible, Jesus says: “Ask and you will receive; search and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt 7:7; Lk 11:9) Here are some examples.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar on the road asked Him for mercy – the healing of his blindness. The people scolded him and told him to keep quiet. But he persisted by shouting even louder. Jesus stopped, called him over and, hearing his request, said to him: “Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.” At once his sight returned. He followed Jesus, glorifying God. And all the people gave praise to God. (See Lk 18:35–43)

In the region of Tyre and Sidon, a Canaanite woman came to Jesus asking for mercy and deliverance of her daughter from demonic possession. Jesus did not say a word. His disciples went and pleaded with him, but he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” The woman came up to him, knelt low before him and asked again for his help. He replied, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to little dogs.” She humbly replied, “Yes, Lord, but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table.” Jesus answered, “Woman, great is your faith. Let what you ask be granted.” And her daughter was healed from that moment. (See Mt 15:22–28)

One day Jesus was teaching inside a jam-packed house. Some men brought a paralytic in a stretcher, but could not get to him. They persevered by climbing up to the roof, removed some tiles, and lowered the sick man into the room. When Jesus saw their determination and their great faith, he said to the sick man, “Your sins are forgiven.” “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher and go home.” He stood up immediately, took up what he had been lying on, and went home healed, glorifying God. All the people were amazed; filled with awe, they gave glory to God. (See Lk 5:17–26)

At Cana in Galilee, a royal official whose son was severely ill in Capernaum heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea. He made the trip to meet Jesus, and humbly asked him to come and heal his son who was near death. Jesus complained, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Unperturbed, the official continued to beg, “Sir, come down before my son dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go, your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said. On the day-long journey back to his house, his slaves came to meet him on the way with the exciting news: the son’s fever had subsided, and he was healed. On enquiring when this took place, the official discovered that it happened at the exact hour when Jesus said: “Go, your son will live.” He and his entire household came to believe. (See Jn 4:46–53)

Before Jesus died on the cross, a thief who had been crucified next to him, ignoring the impertinent criminal crucified on the other side of Jesus, asked of the Lord, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Right away he received the assurance: “Truly, I say to you, this day you will be with me in Paradise.” (See Lk 23:39–43)

What is the difference between (A) and (B)?
The internet answers questions by giving lots of information, independence and self-satisfaction.

Jesus answers requests for favours by giving lots of love and mercy, healing, faith, humility, forgiveness, life, eternal salvation, and fullness of joy.

We started out asking: “What is blindness? How is it healed?” Check the internet, but note that blindness does not always refer to the eye only, but to the heart and the soul as well. In your daily life, examine where you place the balance between (A) and (B). Whatever you need, whomever you ask, give proportionate time to the Lord.

Never forget that Jesus alone can make this promise: “Very truly I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name. Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.” (Jn 16:23–24)

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