Homily: Housekeepers and Secretaries Mass

St Liborius’ Church

8th September, 2015

Rom 8:28-30; Ps 12:6-7; Mt 1:18-23

Today we celebrate the birthday of Our Lady. We know well the story of the young girl who accepts God’s will in her life and who becomes the Mother of God. She is the one who feeds him and dresses him and teaches him right from wrong and who gives him a reprimand when he appears to step out of line. Mary is with Jesus when he begins his public ministry and ultimately follows him to the cross. After he has been tormented and beaten, Mary is the one who is there.

Mary gives to us a prime example of how to accept God’s will in our lives. She simply says “yes’ and trusts the Lord and sets about living and doing God’s will. This is what we, as Christians, are also called to do. Yes, it is a bumpy road at times, but Mary’s example shows us how to discern and live out God’s will for all of us as we journey towards his kingdom.

In our first reading St Paul makes clear that God cooperates with all those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose. Mary, the Mother of our Redeemer goes before us and continually strengthens us in faith, in our vocation and in our mission. By her example of humility and openness to God’s will, she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation. And this is at times, very challenging for those of us in service professions!

St Matthew’s relates how Jesus comes to be born of the Virgin Mary, how this is in accordance with God’s plan for salvation and how Mary’s “yes” is essential to this plan.  St Joseph for his part is called upon to be involved with his support and love which he gives generously.  As disciples of Jesus, we are each called also, to give ourselves unconditionally to the service of our brothers and sisters.  No matter what our state in life may be, we are called to give of ourselves in the service of others. We experience true freedom when we serve with a spirit of detachment.

Birthday celebrations, little expressions of thankfulness, and gifts from grateful people: many times we may receive appreciation and thanks from those whom we serve. And this is good!
However, at times we may experience disappointment when there is little or no recognition for our good work done for others. We all know that some people can at times be very ungrateful for the service that is given to them.  

In everyday life, how many people thank those who give of themselves unconditionally?  Parents, teachers, clergy, police, firefighters, doctors, nurses and others, many times live thankless lives. When applause is not heard, when awards are not given, and when attention is not received, there is a temptation to retreat into self-pity.

However, we must remember the example of Jesus.  Despite the ingratitude of humanity, Jesus continued his mission until his it was finished. The Gospel calls us to give of ourselves unconditionally and seek as our only reward eternal life in heaven.  This is living as Mary did and as a true follower of Christ.

Today, as we think about our spiritual mother, we also reflect upon our own selves. God sent her into the world so that we, too, could have life through her Son.

From all eternity, God knew that He would create each one of us, and that through Baptism, He would make us members of His Body, the Church, and that we would become spiritual children of his mother, Mary.

Today we look to Our Lady and we rejoice in her birth. We ask for her intercession, that as we celebrate her birthday, she too will pray for us, that we will be able to rejoice with her as finally we enter into Heaven, into a new and glorified life with Jesus her Son and our brother.

In this way our mission will be fruitful, because it is modelled on the motherhood of Mary. To her, let us entrust our journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace.

Bishop Leslie Tomlinson