Today we celebrate two feasts. On the Ordinary Form Calendar we honor Pope St. John XXIII, who announced on that day his intent to open the Second Vatican Council. On the Extraordinary Form Calendar we honor Mary, precisely in her role as Mother and so patroness of our parish. These two feasts represent in a beautiful way the diversity and the harmony of our community.
One way to understand Mary is in her role as the primordial Church. Before there were 1.2 billion Catholics there were 12… and before there were 12 there was just 1: Mary, worshipping Christ, loving him, bringing him into the world. She did this by the “overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.” (Lk 1) . In a similar way, 1,963 years later, Pope John XXIII recognizing a need to renew the ways in which we worship Christ and bring Christ into the world placed the Church firmly in the hands of the Holy Spirit and called together all her bishops in Council.
Today, fifty years after those historic events parishes all over the world experience the legacy of Mary and of John XXIII. At Nazareth, Mary raised up Jesus in the synagogue, not desiring to bring about a new religion, but to see the full flowering of Judaism in the new covenant inaugurated in her Son. She looked to the ancient realities of the faith to ground her steps raising up Christ. John XXIII understood this concept well. Opening the Council, he very firmly established that the Church was not out to find new doctrines, but to find new ways of expressing eternal Truths. Likewise all parishes.
We look to the eternal Truths of Scripture and Tradition. We place ourselves prayerfully in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and doing our best, we worship Christ, introducing Him to new times and new people. At St. Mary’s our Latin Mass Community, our immigrant Chinese community, and our largely newly-arrived young adult community all want the same thing: heaven… And looking to the ancient Truths – the mysteries of the life of Christ – we each try our best to apply his love in our very diverse circumstances… trusting the the Holy Spirit will protect us and keep us as one faith-family. He did it for Mary and Jesus… He did it for St. John and the Church… I’m very confident he’ll do the same for our parish.