Eastertide is a special season full of joy and hope – in the person, in the message and in the mission of Jesus. As we celebrate this Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving, it is especially fitting that the Scripture readings chosen for this Mass, each have a Missionary dimension to them. The 1st Reading from the prophet Isaiah reminds us of the mystery about our Missionary work in the context and challenge of today’s postmodern world. The 2nd Reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossian’s reminds us that conversion is God’s work because it is God’s grace that bestows faith. The responsorial, Psalm 34 reminds us that the Word of God always calls us to action. And it is today’s Gospel according to Saint Luke that provides the basis for the devotion which we show Mary, who was the first Missionary disciple.
Our Blessed Mother Mary’s Magnificat is a strong affirmation of God’s faithfulness and mercy to all people. Inspired by the Old Testament tradition, Mary’s wise reading of history, announces a complete reversal of earthly values. Mary announces that God overturns the judgments of the world. Mary prophetically alludes to the three major reversals which must take place in human history if God’s kingdom is to become a reality on earth. First, a social reversal: Mary says, “God has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts.” Second, a political reversal: Mary says, “God has deposed the mighty from their thrones and has raised the lowly to high places.” Third, an economic reversal: Mary says, “God has given the hungry every good thing, while the rich God has sent away empty.” The Magnificat, the Latin version of a Greek word with the same meaning, is a truly theological song that celebrates the greatness of God, for whom nothing is impossible. The Magnificat exalts the fulfillment of God’s promises and the perpetuity of God’s fidelity.
Today’s Scripture Readings bless this occasion in which we, Columban Sisters, Columban Fathers, Columban co-Missionaries and friends celebrate and give thanks for God’s fidelity throughout 60 years in the lives of Sister Rose and Sister Anna. We celebrate and give thanks for God’s fidelity throughout 50 years in the life of Sister Corona; and we celebrate and give thanks for God’s fidelity throughout 25 years in the life of Sister Virgie.
Sisters, in this our day and age, in a postmodern world challenged and characterized by relativism, your lives as consecrated Missionary sisters vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience are a sign of contradiction that serves to invite and encourage others to ultimately define themselves regarding Jesus…whom you have faithfully followed, without ambiguity and without compromise. Your life’s journey, as Missionary Sisters of Saint Columban, has been like Mary’s own journey — a pilgrimage of faith, a pilgrimage of consecration, a pilgrimage of devoted Missionary service…in which you have each been called to be Jesus for others – in the various Missions where you have served and where you continue to do so.
Thank you, Sisters, for your fiat. Thank you for your testimony of faith lived like Mary – with clarity, courage and Missionary conviction. With you, may we, your Columban Sisters, continue to live our baptismal and religious consecration gratefully and joyfully… As all together, we celebrate that which is our Easter hope: the person, the message, and the mission of Jesus.