Live the life of love our Mother Church gives us

| Deacon Mitchell Bechtold | May 8, 2014 | 0 Comments

“The Church is a Mother because she is a Bride [of Christ] who is forever bringing forth children of light, pillars of holiness, sources of inspiration, challengers of truth, and defenders of the Faith.”

These words from Mother Angelica, founder of Eternal Word Television Network, are touching ones. How often we hear this title “Holy Mother Church.”

This coming Sunday we celebrate the great joy of motherhood and honor those who bear this title. Our own birth mothers may be easy enough to identify and honor, but what of our spiritual mother, which is the Church? What does this mother of ours look like? In essence, it looks like us as we live our lives in holiness.

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed . . . .”

As our Catholic tradition teaches, the apostles were the first bishops of the Church, with Peter remembered as our first pope. Their communion, faith and divinely-appointed authority are well imaged in these opening words of Peter proclaiming the good news of the risen Christ in the midst of his brother bishops.

In the first reading, we hear of Peter and the apostles proclaiming the risen Lord in the synagogue. And by their proclamation, these men who are “pillars of holiness, sources of inspiration, challengers of truth, and defenders of the Faith,” brought forth children of light; saving those who might otherwise have been lost. And is this very act of evangelization not, spiritually, a maternal and life-giving act? Certainly it is.

It is through our bishops, speaking in communion with one another and Christ, that our Church receives the certainty of her beliefs. Her beliefs allow her to be a mother. And yet, it is through the daily living of this faith, by all her sons and daughters (i.e., the baptized), that the Church is able to become a mother to so many.

When, in the world, do we see Holy Mother Church? When a bishop teaches. When a Christian faithfully lives out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. When Christ’s followers defend those moral truths, which are certain and life giving, both in their words and deeds — in their holiness of life.

The Holy Mother Church is that bride who is joined in intimate communion with Christ. She is seen in the teaching tradition of the Church and then, with new life, witnessed in her baptized sons and daughters as they love God and neighbor.

What our life of love looks like has been modeled for us by Christ and articulated extensively by our bishops and the teaching tradition of the Church. This life of love is now to be lived out in her members. It is for the Church to be a mother, and it is through our witness of faith that the world will come to see her as holy.

Moved by the words of Mother Angelica, let us honor our Holy Mother Church this day by becoming those pillars of holiness, sources of inspiration, challengers of truth, and defenders of the Faith, which will communicate her holiness and beauty.

Deacon Bechtold is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of St. Cloud. His teaching parish is the cluster of St. Stanislaus-Kostka, St. Edward, St. Mary and St. Francis near Bowlus. His home parish is St. Wendelin in Luxemburg.

Readings

Sunday, May 11
Fourth Sunday of Easter

  • Acts 2:14a, 36-41
  • 1 Peter 2:20b-25
  • John 10:1-10

Reflection

How can we honor the “Holy Mother Church”? And how can she inspire us to honor all mothers?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures