And the Mother of Jesus was there II

24 May 1988 | LITURGY

READ BEGINNING OF STATEMENT...

Mary knew this. She experienced her own freedom. As a cherished daughter of God, she knew her dignity.

She was filled with indignation at the world she lived in - a world which, prevented others achieving a similar appreciation of their own worth and dignity. And so she exulted that at last God was doing something about it - sending a Saviour who would topple the princes from their thrones and send the rich away empty handed (Luke 1:52-53).

Her song of exultation is therefore also a protest at the injustice and oppression in her world.

It is through Mary then that the Reign of God is inaugurated. In her and in her Son the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven (cf. Matthew 6:10). Jesus is Saviour, most particularly of those who turn and cry to God for help The child of her womb is the proof that God hears the cries of the poor and stands on the side of the oppressed.

The Reign of God is a kingdom where justice will prevail and the spirit of this world will be crushed.

Those whose wealth and power have been gained at the expense of their brothers and sisters and from misusing the resources of nature will be held to account. The masks will be torn from their proud faces and they will be sent away shamed, with nothing in their hands (Luke 1:51-53).

In New Zealand where so many people live in comfort and security it is not always easy to identify with the ethical indignation of a Mary who prays to God to scatter the proud in the conceit of their hearts, to topple the mighty from their thrones, and to send the rich away empty handed, so that the lowly can be raised to human dignity, the hungry filled with the necessary things of life.

Yet this is what we are asked to do.

For in New Zealand there are many people who are poor and marginalised because of unemployment, illness, racism, sexual orientation, addiction, and ill fortune.

Many of the comfortable majority turn a blind eye and ignore their plight. They pretend the poor do not exist or wish that they would just go away.

But not so Mary.

She was a strong determined woman who called down God's justice on the unjust and who was committed to taking sides with those who seemed destined to lose the struggle.

In the face of the inequalities and poverty in our own country, we should follow the example of Mary. She identified herself with the poor and downtrodden and made the liberating message of God's mercy available to all.

She "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord" (Lumen Gentium, 55), as "a woman of strength who experienced poverty and suffering, flight and exile" (cf. Matthew 2:13-23) (Marialis Cultus, 37).

In the face of the seeming stubbornness of a social order which favours the well-to-do and victimises the unfortunates among us, we should not be discouraged. Instead we should turn to Mary, the Poor One of Yahweh, for strength and courage in our fight to make God's kingdom of peace and justice a reality for all.

"And the mother of Jesus was there ..." (John 2:1).

In this letter, we have drawn attention to Mary, the first witness to the breaking of the Good News. She is a luminous reflection of the Gospel.

She was present at the Incarnation, saw the beginning of Christ's ministry, and stood by him on Calvary.

And after the Ascension she was there in the midst of the disciples on the morning of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit launched the Church into the evangelisation of the world.

She is still with us, the Church, as we face our responsibility of promoting a civilisation of love in our time by being true signs of God's saving deeds in Jesus Christ. With a lively sense of her presence and an authentic devotion to her, we shall remain in vital contact with the springs of our faith.

We invite the Catholic people of New Zealand to be encouraged by this Marian Year and to renew and deepen their devotion to Mary. We invite all Catholics to promote an adequate and sound appreciation of Mary, and to pray the Angelus and Rosary which draw us into contemplating the events of our redemption.

24 May 1988

Our Lady, Help of Christians

+ Thomas Cardinal Williams DD, Archbishop of Wellington

+ Leonard Boyle, Bishop of Dunedin

+ Edward Gaines, Bishop of Hamilton

+ Basil Meeking, Bishop of Christchurch

+ Denis Browne, Bishop of Auckland

+ Takuira Mariu, Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton
+ Peter Cullinane, Bishop of Palmerston North


The Song of the Virgin Mary (The Magnificat)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant, and from this day all generations will call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me: holy is his Name:
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant, and from this day all generations will call me blessed.The Almighty has done great things for me: holy is his Name:
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and has sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant, Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

Luke 1:46-55