[ Fr.Sunil De Silva - 25.05.2013 ]
Watch and Listen to the ;
v Homily by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.............. F

In all the languages in the world, the word ‘Mother’ is very closer to our lives, it reminds about love. We know very well that our mother loves us so much. When there is a pain, we cry out ‘Amma, Amma’ ( Mummy, Mummy ). Why is that ? Why don’t we cry out saying, ‘ Thaththe, Thaththe’ ( Daddy, Daddy ) ? This is what we feel deep down in hour hearts about our earthly mother. We know that our mother fed us and nourished us with her own blood transformed into milk, when we fall sick, she is there to lookafter us night and day, and she there is to protect our lives from all harm and evil. Therefore, how can we forget our mother ?

If this so for us, how it would have been to Jesus about his own Mother ? Surely, he must have loved his mother, like we love our own mother and he must have been loved so much by her. Gospel tells us that from the moment of his entry into the public ministry, this Mother was watching silently and monitoring closely his Son's mission in the world. He must have been encouraged by the silent presence of his mother, while he was going on his mission preaching and healing people. While he was offering his own precious life on the Cross on the Calvary mount for our salvation, when he saw the mother at the foot of the cross, he must have recalled her great love for him and surely it must have been a great strength to him at this moment of suffering. He must have thought to himself, ‘when everyone was wishing death on me, when everyone seems to desert me, my mother is there with me in my agony.’ It must have been a consolation for him. Therefore, before he was about to breathe his last breath, for the great love that he had for his mother, he didn’t want abandon to her or desert his mother, he gave her a son, he gave her a generation of children, a generation and a generation of multitude of people. When Jesus saw the disciple John at the foot of the Cross, Jesus said to him, ‘John, here is your mother’. Jesus must have silently said ; ‘Here is she, from whom you can receive the warmth of love and whom you can love. She loved me so much and I loved her as well, and surely she will love you too…….therefore, 'here is your mother’. "Ecce Mater Tua." Only three words were expressed at the very last moment. while hanging on the Cross with just three nails, bleeding and suffering in pain under the hot sun in Israel, can he forget his mother who loved him so much and whom he loved so much ? That’s why Jesus gave his mother to the care of John and then he said to her, ‘Mother, here is your son’. Not only to this disciple, he gave the whole world to her loving care.........., everyone who believes in him, was handed over to the loving care of his mother.

How beautiful is his love for the mother. He was well aware of mother’s love. He gave her the privilege of becoming the mother of each one of us. It is through the Cross she received the vocation and the call to be mother of the world, mother of the humanity. It is in a most painful moment in life, he gave his mother to our care, or rather she was entrusted with the care of humanity. It gives us a great message. We as human beings suffer from all difficulties in life, suffer from all kinds ups and downs in life, suffer from mental agonies and tensions, much more than that we suffer from our own sinfulness. We cannot find anyone without a problem in the world, they may be suffering from physical illnesses, or mental agonies, or may be we are suffering from our own struggle against our sins and selfishness; in all these sufferings, he didn’t want to abandon us and go back to his Father, instead he gave us to loving care of his own mother, ‘Mother, here is your son’. It is how Jesus loved us amidst of suffering and agony.

Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical letter SPE SALVI, says, “From the Cross you received a new mission. From the Cross you became a mother in a new way: the mother of all those who believe in your Son Jesus and wish to follow him. The sword of sorrow pierced your heart. Did hope die? Did the world remain definitively without light, and life without purpose? At that moment, deep down, you probably listened again to the word spoken by the angel in answer to your fear at the time of the Annunciation: “Do not be afraid, Mary!” (Lk 1:30). How many times had the Lord, your Son, said the same thing to his disciples: do not be afraid! In your heart, you heard this word again during the night of Golgotha. Before the hour of his betrayal he had said to his disciples: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn16:33). “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27). “Do not be afraid, Mary!”( Spe Salci 50 ).

Therefore, O Blessed Mother, how blessed and fortunate are we to address you as ‘Our Mother’ ? We have great loving mother in heaven much more than our earthly mother, it is Our Blessed Mother Mary. Just as she loved his own Son so much, in the very same way, she loves us today. It is a cause for our joy. Why should we be afraid, when Jesus has given us a great loving Mother, to whom we can turn and cry aloud, ‘ O Mother, O Mother’. Amidst of our sufferings and pains, in sicknesses and deceases, amidst of disappointments in life journey, we have a heavenly Mother who will lovingly embraces into her bosom and strengthen us on this earthly journey; this is a great consolation for us and therefore, why should we be afraid of anything in our life journey.

Pope John Paul II, in his Encylcical, REDEMPTORIS MATER, “This is true not only of John, who at that hour stood at the foot of the Cross together with his Master's Mother, but it is also true of every disciple of Christ, of every Christian. The Redeemer entrusts his mother to the disciple, and at the same time he gives her to him as his mother. Mary's motherhood, which becomes man's inheritance, is a gift: a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual. The Redeemer entrusts Mary to John because he entrusts John to Mary. At the foot of the Cross there begins that special entrusting of humanity to the Mother of Christ, which in the history of the Church has been practiced and expressed in different ways.”( RM 45).

Thereafter, Gospel words become very important for us ;' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.'( John 19.27). It is clear that the Mother went to John’s home.

There are many who accuses us that we worship statues, that we worship this Mother, those who blaspheme and disgrace the truths in the Bible, why don’t they accept this religious truth ? This is not something what the Church created, this is something written in the Holy Bible in John’s Gospel, in the verses of chapter 25.25-27, that the Mother was given to us by Jesus. Why was she given to us ? It is to take care of her, to protect her, to receive the warmth of her love and care. Then is it something wrong that we do ? How can we think of a Church without the Mother ? It is written in the Bible, that the Blessed Mother was present in the upper room, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. So she became united with us in the very inception of the Church. So she is the protector and the consolation for us.

Holy Bible invites us and appeals to us, to take Our Mother to our homes. Those words were not limited to the disciple John, but from today onwards, take this Heavenly Blessed Mother to your homes. That is why it is written that John welcomed her into his house. That is the invitation Lord gives us today, “ From that moment he took her to his home”. He wants us to take the heavenly Mother to our homes.

In this year after 24th November, “The Year of Mary” will be declared in the Archdiocese of Colombo. We will commit our Catholic faithful to the loving care of Our Blessed Mother. We will pray to her very especially in this year to protect us, to take care of us, to give us the strength to face difficulties and challenges in life…….’as much as you loved your Son Jesus, love us also in the same way…’.

The patron Saint of the priests, St. John Mary Vianney says, “ Most Blessed Mother remains the mediator between her Son and us. When the sins over take our life, her maternal love and compassion becomes stronger for us. “ She doesn’t abandon the sinner. She loves us so much.Even though a child troubles her mother and allows her to cry in pain, mother continues to love the child so mucH.....Is it not the child who is weak and prone to danger, that a mother pays more attention and takes care of ? Therefore, is it not possible for our heavenly Mother to intercede for us and help us ? St. John Mary Vianney says, that is how heavenly Mother feels for us. Even if you bring together the love of all the mothers in the world, the love of the Heavenly Mother is much more stronger than that. “ Love of all the mothers in the world put together, is like a piece of ice in comparison to her love “.

Therefore, why do we often come to this hallowed basilica, and kneel at the loving feet of our Mother ? We come to her, because we are very sure and convinced that She loves us. Therefore, come and leave all your worries and cares, pains and disappointments at the feet of this Blessed loving Mother…..come and tell this Heavenly Mother your worries, tensions and your sins…..We Catholics will never leave this Mother……the Catholic Church will never ever blaspheme or disgrace Her…. This is what is special in the Catholic Church. Therefore, let us pray to Our Blessed Mother…..” O Most Blessed Mother, how much you love us, help all the sinners and sick who have come to you today …..'Holy Mar, Mother of God, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen'

Welcoming the Apostolic Nuncio, His Eminence and other Bishops
Beginning of the Holy Rosary.....with the sign of the Cross ( Santha Kuruse Adayalame....)
Recitation of the Rosary..... Fr. Sriyananda Fernando
Recitation of the Rosary in Tamil......Fr. Prakash Fernando
Fr. Sumith Roshan concluding the Rosary with Hail Holy Queen....
Litany to Our Lady of Lank by Fr. Rohan Prasanna
Introductions by Fr. Lakmin Prasanga Silva
Prayer to Our Lady of Lanka for our country by Fr. Cecil Kumar
His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando blessing the people with the statue of Our Lady of Lanka
Priests blessing the people with Holy Water.........
His Exccellency the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Spiteri presiding at the Solemn Healing Service
Archdiocesan Choir singing at the Solemn Service
Introductions by Fr. Vincent Ashley to the Proclamation of the Gospel
Proclamation of the Gospel by the Episcopal Vicar Very Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando
His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith preaching after the Gospel
[ Photos by Fr. Sunil De Silva,
& Ashen Savinda Senaratne]