First Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Brothers and sisters: The love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103: 1-12
The Lord is kind and merciful. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion. He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever. Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.
Gospel: Matthew 5:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.”
It is the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If you’re like me, a Protestant turned Catholic, you still don’t know that much about Mary, and quite honesty, you don’t really get that into her feast days.
So what’s with the Immaculate Heart of Mary anyway? And why should it matter to me?
The Immaculate Heart of Mary refers to the interior life of the Mother of our Lord—her love for God, her love for her Son, and her love for us, the Church as well as the sorrows that pierced her heart and the joys she experienced.
When Jesus entrusted His mother to the Beloved Disciple (Saint John at the foot of the cross), He was also giving her to us, as our mother. And as our mother she becomes an example to follow. From her perfect “yes” at the annunciation to her instructions to “do whatever He tells you” at the wedding at Cana, Mary is constantly giving glory to God with her life.
She exemplifies the new creation we are called to become in today’s reading from Corinthians: “He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
She is an “ambassador for Christ” interceding for us all, that we might be reconciled to Him.
She is the person who’s integrity is so strong that she doesn’t need to take an oath to prove a point, but as the Gospel says, can let her “yes” mean “yes” and her “no” mean “no.” And it was through that simple and honest yes that God chose to change the course of history.
As we strive to become new creations in Christ, let us look to Mary as an example and as a faithful intercessor. Let us learn from her Immaculate Heart how to better love Our Lord.
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith. Read more about her here.