The following is by Father Valentine Young, OFM, a faithful Catholic priest who died on 17 January 2020. It was delivered sometime between 2013 and 2020. To learn more about Father Valentine, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
ACK in 1981, I observed my 25th anniversary as a priest. At the time, I was stationed at a Navaho Mission in Kayenta, AZ. My younger sister offered to take care of all the arrangements for me to celebrate the occasion at my home parish, Sacred Heart Church in Bellevue, KY. She reserved the school hall for the reception after Mass and did all the work in getting the invitations and other preparations done, including the food, etc.
Today’s Gospel: But for her, it somewhat turned out like today’s Gospel—because a lot more people showed up that she ever expected. She was afraid they were going to run out of food. (I didn’t know anything about this at the time.) She only told me later how she prayed to the Blessed Mother all during the reception that they would not run out. As far as I know, they didn’t run out and it turned out to be a glorious event. The Blessed Mother made sure there was enough food.
Mary and our needs: As we are beginning this New Year it might be good for us to remind ourselves of what an ADVOCATE, or what a ‘provider’ we have in Mary. I might ask you, “When is the last time that you prayed the Memorare?” Do the younger people even know what I am talking about? I’m referring to this prayer:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
Learning from Mary: I think it goes without saying that the problems we face today are a lot more serious than not having enough wine for a wedding feast or enough food for a silver jubilee celebration. To me, it is almost ironic that on the one hand our country is enjoying great material prosperity in many respects: Many people have never had it so good. On the other hand, we are living with perhaps one of the biggest political “messes” we have ever experienced. I hesitated to use that word (mess) to describe our political situation, but my limited vocabulary doesn’t enable me to think of any other word to describe the current political situation. If anyone has a more polite word to describe this, please let me know.
Mary is still with us: And yet I feel Mary is still with us, provided we do what she told the CHIEF STEWARD to do. She told him to do whatever Jesus told him to do. And that is what she is telling us. And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what that is: It’s right in front of you. It is doing the next right thing that God puts in front of you to do. It is doing that next right extra thing that God may be inspiring you to do, like that extra Mass during the week, that extra Holy Hour, that extra rosary, that extra fasting and/or act of penance.
Conclusion: I may not like or even agree with the idea of people wanting to enter our country in an illegal way. And yet I have to feel sorry for them for having to live in circumstances which seem to be forcing them to be doing this. And one question I cannot answer is: why have I been so blessed and spared such hardships? I didn’t do anything to deserve it. I do think God is expecting something ‘extra’ from those of us so blessed. Ask Mary to inspire you as to what you can do to show your gratitude and maybe also be able to help others in the process. +