The Virgin Mary’s profound ability to encourage us to follow Christ was the focus of Archbishop Timothy Costelloe’s homily at this week’s Mass for the Nativity of Our Lady.
Celebrated on 8 September within the walls of Perth’s St Mary’s Cathedral, harmoniously named after the Mother of God, the midday Mass commemorated the Virgin Mary’s birthday and highlighted the crucial role she plays within the Church.
“Birthdays are times in which we can pause and reflect on all the reasons why we are glad that this person who we’re celebrating is a part of our lives. We reflect on how their presence in our lives is a gift to us,” the Archbishop said.
“This is just as true of Our Lady as it is of anybody else. Right around the Church today Christians are gathering to thank God for the gift of Mary and to reflect on how her presence in our lives and the Church brings so many gifts to us,” he added.
Archbishop Costelloe went on to focus on the significance of the brief appearances of Mary within St John’s Gospel: once at The Wedding at Cana and another time at the foot of the cross.
He paused on the few words she utters at the Wedding of Cana and reflected on how poignant they are for us as Christians today.
“To the stewards at the wedding, and to us today, the Virgin Mary points to Christ and says ‘do whatever he tells you.’
“This is the message I would like all of us to take way today as we celebrate this wonderful gift of Mary in our lives.”
Commenting on the other occasion in which Mary appears in the gospel, kneeling at the foot of the cross next to the beloved the disciple John, the Archbishop portrayed this scene as symbolic of the Church.
“It’s the mother and the disciple at the foot of the cross who symbolise the Church. This representation of Mary reminds us that she is an essential part of the life of the Church.
“As we reflect on this we remember that she is at the heart of the Church to point us beyond herself to her son,” he concluded.
Following the mass, numerous members of the congregation gathered around the exposed statue of Our Lady to offer prayers and to ask Mary for special graces.