Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Acts 6:1-7 / Ps 33 / 1 Pt 2:4-9 / Jn 14:1-12
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Today, Mother’s Day, we honor all of our mothers, including the Blessed Mother, whose first apparition at Fatima occurred one hundred years ago. Yesterday, on the actual anniversary of her first apparition in Fatima, the whole Catholic world rejoiced upon the canonization of Saint Jacinta and Saint Francisco, two of the children shepherds who witnessed the apparition.
Portuguese Cardinal Jose Martins, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, said that the canonization of St. Francisco and St. Jacinta changed the belief that children do not have the ability to practice Christian heroic virtue like adults. In fact, this virtue was very apparent when the three shepherd children were arrested and intimidated by their mayor. Instead of caving to the pressure, the children said, “You can do whatever you want but we cannot tell a lie. Do whatever you want to us; burn us with oil, but we cannot tell a lie.”
What gave these children so much courage? Beyond their simple faith in God, they had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. They surely received a special grace from the Lord through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, because she is full of grace.
For those who may be asking why the Blessed Mother seems to have such extraordinary power to intercede for all her children who appeal to her for the blessings they need, part of the answer is given by the Angel Gabriel in his salutation to Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” This tells us that Mary’s power doesn’t come from her, but from the Lord Jesus who is with her.
Moreover, we see God’s devotion to the Blessed Mother when Jesus was hanging on the cross at Calvary, and He gave her to us to be our mother, too. It makes our relationship with Our Lord even more personal. Every single day we all rejoice because Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
But we also give thanks because Mary is our queen and mother, and she will continue to intercede for us, her children, as she interceded for St. Jacinta and St. Francisco and Servant of God Lucia, and for thousands of people since her first apparition in Fatima one hundred years ago. Most of all, she will continue to lead all of us to her son, Jesus, who is the Light of the World.
As St. Peter said in his first letter, which we heard in today’s second reading, we are a chosen race, a people of His own, so that we may announce the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.