Immaculate Heart of Mary – Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix
Below is the text prepared for Bishop Olmsted’s homily for the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, celebrated with the Catholic Men’s Leadership Alliance.
June 25, 2022
“Jesus… came down with… [Mary and Joseph] and obeyed them, and his mother kept all these things in her heart(Luke 1:51).
On this day when the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v Wade, I am happy to celebrate Mass with Catholic men who have joyfully embraced their mission in the work of today and have been ready to “fight the good fight of faith”, “put on the armor of God” and “stand firm against the tactics of the devil”.
It is no coincidence that Roe v Wade was canceled on the Solemn Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What could be more precious to the Heart of our Savior than the lives of the most vulnerable and innocent among us? Roe v Wade led to the destruction of over 60 million lives and confused our moral conscience and national laws. Today we begin the long journey to heal from this wound. Our first reading this morning from the Book of Lamentations speaks of this duty as it exhorts us in words especially meaningful at this moment in American history, “Rise, strident in the night, at the beginning of each vigil; Pour out your hearts like water before the Lord: Lift up your hands to Him for the life of your little ones” (Lam 2:19).
Today the Church invites us in America to “pour out our hearts like water before the Lord.“Yesterday, Dobbs v. Jackson ended an unjust law that for 49 years has denied tens of millions of children the right to be born. We mourn their loss and entrust their souls to our merciful God.
At the same time, we must prepare for the spiritual warfare that awaits us. The Dobbs’ decision allows us to start new work, to heal wounds and mend deep divisions in society, to build a culture that supports marriages and families, and to provide support and resources for every woman. to bring her child into the world with love.
As we launch this new beginning on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us be guided and inspired by her example. Once she gave her consent to be the Mother of God, the long tyranny of sin was heading for inevitable defeat. Mary’s “yes” opened the door to our Redeemer, who took on human flesh, so that he could suffer and die to redeem us and raise us from the dead to overcome and trample on death. Jesus, son of Mary and Son of God, is forever the Light that darkness cannot defeat.
Dear brothers and sons in Christ, we have much to learn from His Blessed Mother. She earned the right to be called the “first disciple”. Wherever God led her, she went with joy, without counting the price, without complaining, without being discouraged. Because she was the Mother of Jesus, she became a refugee in Egypt, mother of a criminal, witness to a Roman execution of her Son and recipient of a new mission as Jesus told her from the Cross, showing the Beloved Disciple: “Here is your Son.”
In every circumstance, joyful or painful, Mary was always obedient, willingly uniting her heart to the will of the Father.
Mary’s heart was undivided; there was no duplicity in her. She refused to be intimidated by fear. Filled with the spirit of truth, she remained steadfast in her devotion to Jesus and in her role in the mission of the Church.
On this day after the overthrow of Roe v Wade, we have a lot to learn from Mary about walking with mothers in need. Remember how she rushed to the Judean Hills to help Elizabeth, a pregnant mother in need. Let us also remember the missionary spirit that she introduced with particular beauty to the American continent, when she appeared to Saint Juan Diego at Tepeyac, in central Mexico, in 1531 AD. Carrying the unborn child Jesus in her womb, Our Lady of Guadalupe came to Juan Diego, surrounded by music more beautiful than birds can sing, and she spoke words that gave her confidence to accomplish a mission for his Son. When you and I have doubts or fears like Juan Diego did, let’s remember his words, “May your heart not be troubled… Am I not here, I who have the honor to be your Mother?”
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of our nation. At this turning point in its history, when our witness to the Gospel of Life is more necessary than ever, let us remember the words of the Memorare:
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that anyone who fled under your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was never known to be left helpless. O Mother of the Incarnate Word, do not despise our requests but in your mercy, listen to them and respond to them. Amen.”