As we prepare to celebrate our patronal feast, Mary Assumed into Heaven, each day of our novena clergy of the Archdiocese of Cape Town will offer reflections on Our Lady.
In this reflection for Friday, 13 August, Fr Bonginkosi Nhleko SDB reflects on Mary as Mother and Help of Christians.
This video is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please share these daily reflections on your parish WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms.
The text of the video is provided below, especially for those who are deaf.
Welcome friends to this novena reflection in preparation to celebrate the Assumption of Mary, Patroness of South Africa. I’d like to focus on Mary, Mother and Help of Christians
The Wedding at Cana
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Mary is one of the most famous women in history, an exemplar of purity. But what do we really know about this young Jewish girl named Miriam who became the mother of Jesus? We meet her at the start of the Gospel According to Luke and learn that “the angel Gabriel was sent from God to … a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. She was a young Jewish girl from Nazareth, a small community where nothing of note ever seemed to happen. She could never have fathomed that God would choose her. Yet when the Angel Gabriel revealed her fate, she willingly did as asked because of loving devotion to the Lord.
But Mary could not have foreseen her child’s future, his ministry and miracles, his agonizing death, and the glorious Resurrection. Throughout, Mary cared for, followed, and loved her Son. To such a woman is owed special respect, and many have elevated her above all other humans. She is seen as the seminal mother, the nurturing parent, the patient guardian, the paragon of virtue, the symbol of human sacrifice, suffering, and love.
Mary is the great Mediatrix, the mediator between humans and Christ, first witnessed during the Wedding at Cana. The celebration ran out of wine, and Mary quickly interceded by encouraging her son to Help. As the mother of God and the great intercessor, she helps bring about miracles. Because of this, millions of the faithful pray to her and make their way to her shrines, which are found around the world in Lourdes, Fatima, Rwanda and Ngome, among other places. As the Mediatrix, Mary has appeared to people over the centuries. There are many, many claims of visitations by her. Mary can seem ever present, appearing in paintings, literature, and music. Much of this is because people cherish her. They call to her, and when she responds, often offers mysterious messages letting them know of upcoming events, warning of harm, and celebrating accomplishments. She is truly a Help of Christians, a Help of All Humanity. She cares for all peoples of the earth.
What St. John Bosco once said years ago could be said today: “The times we are in are so sad that we truly need the Most Holy Virgin to help us in preserving and defending the Christian Faith as in Lepanto, as in Vienna, as in Savona and Rome.” We can combat the harm in our times by turning to Mary. The promise of St. John Bosco to his boys is a promise that is good for all of us today: “Trust in Mary and you will know what miracles are!”
Let us pray…
Lord our God, You chose the Virgin Mary to be the Mother and Help of Christians; by her prayers give to the Church of South Africa the strength of your Spirit so that with patience and love its members may overcome every trial and share even now in the victory of Christ, your Son. He lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Fr Bonginkosi Nhleko SDB