Everything seems so up-ended, disordered, chaotic…even as I turned first to the USCCB website this morning for the liturgical readings of the day. “It is June, is it not?” I asked myself, as I looked at the liturgical calendar and saw the heading: “Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.” Most “good Catholics” of at least “middle age” have been aware since childhood of the dedication of May as “the Month of Mary, our Mother.” We grew up with Marian hymns and May Crownings, flowers and May Devotions with special attention to the rosary and awareness of a twinning of sorts of Memorial Day as May 30 and the feast of Mary as Queen of Heaven on the 31st.
I admit my age when I say these things so please don’t think I have returned to the “good old days” before all calendars became rather fluid to accommodate work schedules/weekends and other updates seen more sensible to the majority of people, at least in the USA. It’s just that I could always count on celebrating May first as my own mother’s birthday and the 31st as that of our Blessed Mother Mary. Silly me, to hold to a calendar when the world is in chaos all around me.
After my rant and a closer look inside, I find it ironic but also telling that the readings for today seem correct. From the Hebrew Scriptures (GN 3:9-15, 20) we hear the conversation in the Garden of Eden between God and Adam after he and Eve have eaten the forbidden fruit. It is all about excuses and blaming and judgment. (Eve has joined the conversation midway through). More striking is the gospel recounting (JN 19: 25-34) of the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Our country is burning with looting and mourning, frustration and pain over racism and pandemic. The coronavirus is not a punishment from God, nor is the sin of racism. We need to look deeply at the situations and ask ourselves how we might now contribute to solutions rather than adding to the chaos. What have we done to stem the tide of infection? Are wearing a mask in public and washing our hands at home too onerous strictures? More deeply yet, we need to look at reasons for prejudice against our brothers and sisters who do not look like us or talk like us or celebrate life like us. Do we know the hearts of others rather than just their skin? What have we done to welcome difference into our lives and love it in the name of the God who created us all?
I am talking to myself here as much as to anyone else and I need this day to look at my own life and do more than wish that it could be different for all of us. I have no more words. I rely on your prayer as I offer mine to you. May God help us all.