“Praying the Holy Rosary as Adopted Sons of God and Mary”
Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary
October 1, 2022
Readings from Galatians 4:4-7; Psalm 45; Matthew 12:46-50
Homily delivered at St. Mary’s Cathedral
on the occasion of
The Annual Rosary Rally
I remember once hearing a story on the radio. It was a reader commentary. A young lady, well, she was still in high school. Her older brother had gone off to college. Then, on the semester break or at vacation time, he returned home, and her commentary was on how very different he was. He had changed quite a bit because in college he came into contact with a Baptist campus ministry group, and he became a Christian, an ardent, believing Christian.
She did not like it. She did not like the way he changed. She lived her life very differently and was used to that. And she got into, I suppose, somewhat of a difficult or tense discussion with her brother about this. I remember her saying that she asked her brother, “Do you believe I am going to Hell?” She said her brother responded, “You will if you do not repent of your sins.” That was actually a very good answer, wasn’t it? That is the real truth.
Then and Now
Curious, because it is the reverse of what we are accustomed to hearing about: a son or daughter goes off to college, and then in college ends up losing his or her faith. The young person may have come from a practicing Christian family, but he or she encounters a very different sort of a culture and ends up losing the faith. But it seems to be becoming more common, that someone who encounters the person of Jesus Christ accepts Him into his or her life and becomes a Christian and is finding some lack of acceptance with those who are closest in his or her life. It is a situation not unlike that of ancient times, when Christianity was new and growing, and Christians were considered sort of a sect that was on the fringes or seditious.
Rejection from Loved Ones
And so, we hear Jesus elsewhere in the gospel speaking about hating family members, or we are not worthy of His kingdom, meaning that if we love others more than Him, others who will keep us from following Him, then we are not worthy of the kingdom. The reality is that one who accepts Christ into his or her life acquires a new family, and this is how we become members of the family of Jesus, as He teaches us in the Gospel passage for today that we just heard proclaimed. That is, “Whoever does the will” of His “heavenly Father,” He says, “is my brother and sister and mother.” It is not a matter, then, simply of giving lip service, but of a real change of life, of doing the will of God.
How is this accomplished? St. Paul gives us that answer in our second reading, when he says, “God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law so that we might receive adoption.” It is through adoption: that is, Jesus, the co-eternal Son of God, becoming one of us in human flesh, assuming a human body, makes Himself our brother. He is the Son of God. But, as we say, the “only-begotten” Son of God, as we profess in the creed every Sunday: He is “begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father,” the same substance. He is God. He is eternally begotten because He exists as the Son of the Father from all eternity, and He also began to exist in His earthly life at a certain moment, when He was conceived in the womb of His Blessed Mother.
By making Himself our brother, the co-eternal Son of God makes us His brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of His Father in Heaven and thus sharing in His inheritance of eternal glory. But recall how this was possible: He was “born of a woman.” Mary is His mother. So, if we are His brothers and sisters, then she is our mother, too.
We turn to her. She is there to hear us, to embrace us, to take us to her Son. She is always there to protect us in our moments of trial and desperation. What great comfort we have in her! What great comfort we have in praying the Rosary, meditating on those saving mysteries in her life and in the life of her Son. We will do so again today in procession with her Son in the Blessed Sacrament.
We need to rely on this powerful prayer. We need to pray it every day. We need to pray it every day so that our hearts will be open to God working out His loving will through us, so that we are open to receiving the strength of His grace to do His will as His true adopted children.
Yes, there will be a price to pay. There has been in every generation, but perhaps more so in our own time than any time in living memory. Yes, it could entail rejection, certainly by the purveyors of popular culture, and perhaps for some, also from those who are closest to them. But we can receive no higher honor than to be admitted as a member of God’s family, with His Son’s mother as our own. (Except for suffering dishonor for the sake of this highest honor.)
This family of God, this is the family that endures forever. This is the legacy of saints and martyrs now pulling for us in Heaven, praying for us and giving us inspiration as we take our own turn in fighting the good fight for Christ in this world. As we do so, let us bear in mind a saying of one of the early Christian martyrs who gives us support and encouragement in our struggle to arrive at our family home in heaven: “A Christian’s only relatives are the saints.”