Feast of the Basilica of Mary Major 5th August

Mercredi 5 août 2020

Feast of the Basilica of Mary Major 5th August

And Jesus then went out, and withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanitish woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David ; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.’

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying,’ Send her away ; for she is crying after us.’ But he answered and said, ‘I was not sent to the lost sheep but of the house of Israel.’

But she came and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’

And he answered and said,’ It is not rightt to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord : for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. ‘Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith : be it done unto you even as you will’. And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Mary expects us to love and to welcome all of humanity.

Situated on the pass of the Esquilin hill in Rome stands the Basilica of Mary Major. Today is the day we commerate it. Tradition tells us that it was Our Blessed Lady who indicated the place where she wanted it to be built. On the morning of 5th August, the Esquilin pass was covered with snow, a sign.

Here in the Gospel reading, we see Jesus was having a lively discusssion wth the Pharissees around the subject of what is pure or impure.They didn’t accept his Word. And so he withdrew into the region of Tyr and Sidon. A Cannanite pursued him crying out for him to cure his daughter possessed by a demon. The disciples liked to be left alone and they are bothered by her, seeing in her only her bothersome cries.

Jesus gives us a lesson of the importance listening and He gives it to us even today. He came to save us even at tho-is present time from the effects of Evil in our hearts and lives. He calls us to change we have way of seeing things and also calls us to change our behaviour. We are called to love truely and to manifest this love by our acts of love for God and for everyone. We ask Mary, Our Heavenly Mother, for the grace to be able to see others not just from their outward appearance but to see them as children of God.

Let us also ask her that we be able to let others come close to us and that we be disturbed by them, so that they may be able to draw closer to God and to be healed.

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying,’ Send her away ; for she’s crying after us.’ But he answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ‘

Jesus stood there before this woman who draws closer to him bowing down before him. She is not Jewish yet she recognises him as ‘Lord’. She had heard about him, the miracles, and believes in him.

This woman doesn’t ask for bread, just for some crumbs to heal her child.

A mother’s love has alot of audacity and also a lot of faith. Faced with this maternal love and with this act of faith and humility, Jesus manifests God’s action by healing the daughter of this Cannanite woman who has made an act of faith.

In our own lives, we may think we are close to Jesus, yet how often do we see others from amerely human point of view. From our own pedestal and proximity with Jesus we like to judge others by their

appearances and are quick to exclude them from the Church or not let them in at all.

But she came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. And he answered and said’, It is not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. ‘ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord : for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table’. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘O woman, great is your faith : be it done unto you just as you will.’ And her daughter was healed from that hour.

As we contemplate this scene of a Cannanite woman imploring Jesus to heal her, we might think Jesus is lending a deaf ear to her. Yet he was aware of this woman’s faith and wanted her faith to grow even more.

At times God’s silence can be a a source of tourment for us. The building of the Basilca of st Mary Majeur has us enter into a position of silent adoration : ‘Lord, may your will be done’.

The building of the Basilica of Mary Majeur is linked to the Concile of Ephesus which declared Mary Thetokos, Mother of God. Right in the centre of the Basilica of St Mary Major the big bronze door manifesting the life of Our Blessed Lady, of the prophets, the evangelists, as well as the four women who prefgured Mary in the Old Testament. In the centre is Christ representing the Man in the shroud and appearing to Our Blessed Lady as the Salus Populi Romani, (Salvation of the Roman people)

We pray to Mary, our Heavenly Mummy, to come to our aid .