Today we celebrate both Memorial Day and the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church. In today’s Gospel Jesus hands over the care of his mother to the Beloved Disciple:
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
Jesus then solemnly declares, “It is finished” (consummatum est) and gives up his spirit. While Jesus’ earthly life is now finished his mission and ministry is to continue in the work of his church:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The mission of the church is quite simply to continue the mission of Jesus by making disciples of all nations, no one is to be excluded. These new disciples must also learn the teachings of Jesus, particularly the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:28). Jesus teaches God’s way of mercy and compassion. Jesus teaches not only love of neighbor but love of enemy. The church’s mission to not only to pass on the teachings of Jesus but also the promise of Jesus: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Today we remember Mary as the mother of the church. She is the perfect example of a disciple and shows us what it means to be a disciple: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). Today we also remember and pray all of those who have died in the service of our country. We remember and pray for them and for their families. We also pray for the end of all wars: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”