It’s truly significant that the feast of Mary Mother of the Church was chosen to fall on the very day after Pentecost.
Today’s readings are here.
It’s truly significant that the feast of Mary Mother of the Church was chosen to fall on the very day after Pentecost, as if to remind each of us that the Church is born through the Spirit and not by human planning. But the Gospel passage that explains its meaning to us is an intense description of the last moments of Jesus’ life. That is indeed the moment when the seed of the Church is sown, which will later sprout on the day of Pentecost.
Three things are striking about this account: the broadening of Mary’s vocation, as under the Cross she becomes Mother of all believers and not only of Jesus; Christ’s intense thirst, which remains as if suspended throughout the extent of the story; and his pierced side, from which comes forth blood and water.
Indeed, the Church—like Mary—is a womb within which new life can be reborn. Those who enter the Church do so through the waters of baptism, and the life that flows from it is no longer just biological life, but eternal life that mysteriously wells up within us. Indeed, our spiritual life is eternal life that flows through us.
The second characteristic of the Church is to take Christ’s thirst seriously. This thirst is prolonged in the concrete needs of our brothers and sisters, which is Jesus’ thirst for being loved back, a thirst for reciprocity. Christian faith is not God’s action alone but the mutual action of two free wills that meet: mine and God’s.
The third characteristic of the Church is the sacraments, which flow from the side of Christ and remind us of the price of love. We are loved at great cost; that is, we are precious in His eyes, and living the life of the sacraments means experiencing this precious love.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese of Italy and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Aleteia is proud to offer this commentary on the readings for daily Mass, in collaboration with Fr. Epicoco.