‘There is no other name on earth in heaven or in the underworld by which we can be saved, and that is the name of Jesus’, according to Scripture.
Yet Christians have always turned to Mary for help. We call on the Holy Name of Jesus for mercy, and on the Holy Name of Mary for help.
Indeed in the Rosary we call on the name of Mary 100 times as we pray Hail Mary and Holy Mary. Thus in the course of a given year if we recite the Rosary once a day, we utter Mary’s name 3,650 times. In three years that becomes over 10,000 times. Every decade of our lives, that becomes 36,500 times. We could go on, but that becomes 100,000 times every 10 years if you were to offer 15 decades each day. Of course the number really is hard to quantify because of the Angelus and the Memorare and other prayers we utter throughout our lives. And indeed we call on the name of Jesus our Lord at least 50 times in each rosary.
We know people ‘to see’ only and we know others by name only, but we really cannot get to know one another well unless we are introduced by name.
In Scripture calling someone by name denotes the formation of a relationship. God calls Abram ‘Abraham’, Sarai ‘Sarah’, and Jesus calls Simon Peter, and Saul becomes Paul.
Children learn Mummy and Daddy first by those simple pet names.
So we in fact strengthen our relationship of confidence in the intercessory role of Mary each time we utter her name. Let us try to become more conscious of this each time we mention her name in prayer. We strengthen the bond of love the more we call on her.
At the Annunciation Mary is referred to by name for the very first time: ‘and the virgin’s name was Mary. In praying to her in the words of the angel, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’, we fulfill the prophecy of Our Lady herself when she said in her Magnificat: ‘from henceforth all generations will call me blessed’.
At Fatima at the Cova da Iria, there was an echo and the children would love to shout out ‘Maria’ and little did they know that Mary would come in person in response to their many childish utterances.
In recent times the Popes have emphasized Mary as ‘hearer of the WORD’. She is blessed because she ‘heard the word of God and kept it.’ She ‘pondered these things in her heart’ at Bethlehem and in the Temple. This is in contrast to the attitude of those described by St James in his letter comparing those who treat the word of God lightly to those who look at their reflection in a mirror and instantly forget it.
Now let us ask Mary to help us to hear the word of God and keep it as she did, as we utter the word, and the name of, Mary.
Many who are first will be last, and the last shall be fist
Strive to enter by the narrow door
- our fidelity to the duties according to our state in life
‘All is vanity’, the First Reading bleakly tells us. It is a sombre and depressing thought that for all our work and toil, we will one day be replaced in our job, and someone else will live in our home. It is however a reading that is a challenging reminder to us not to get so caught up in work and wealth for its own sake. The First Reading is meant to be instructive rather than to be one that stands alone to leave us in despair. Of course work has value, not only to provide for ourselves, but to provide a service to others, even if there is profit, and to apply our God-given talents, to partake in the creativity that the Creator has given us, to use our ingenuity, such as it is, to lighten the burden of others and to build up the world around us. And we have a right to housing and possessions, but we also have responsibilities.
The man in the parable got what he wanted, and still wanted more, and then he got what he deserved!
How often, like the rich man, have we heard of heart breaking stories of money invested and gone, or projects completed and a person does in the stress of the effort? I remember there was a publican who spent over £200,000 (punts) in extending his pub, and he died soon afterwards, how the best laid plans in retirement fall through, how people sadly do not see their worldly dreams fulfilled, and die before enjoying retirement.
Let us pray for one another out of pure hearts, free from sin, for those in sin, that we may all come to experience the love of God - ‘our Father who art in heaven.’
It is interesting to note how brothers and sisters in a family can be similar in appearance and be readily identifiable from their parents; yet how they differ! People might express surprise when they find out you are a brother or sister to someone they know well, and suddenly make the connection with you. They might say ‘you are not a bit alike’!
It is interesting to note how personalities and tastes and temperaments differ under the same roof. How some people can be described as ‘explorers’ (adventurous, wanting to socialize at parties, see the world) and those who are ‘settlers’ (I’d rather stay at home, order a take-out, watch a movie on TV). [They usually marry each other!]
Comparisons are odious. We hate the phrase as we grow up: ‘why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?’ At school, if you had an older brother or sister, teachers may, intentionally or not, compare you (usually unfairly) with an older sibling, and expect you to measure up to their abilities or achievements. You are not seen for who you are as a unique individual with your own quirks. You may feel constricted, in a strait-jacket by this measure.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” – Isaiah 1:18