A Mother For These Times: My Assumption Novena Sermon
I posted last week about my receiving from my bishop to publicly preach outside of Mass once again for one of the days of a parish novena for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary being held at one of the local churches, the Church of the Assumption, in my diocese here in Nashville. This is the second-ever time that I have received permission to publicly preach for the faithful, and the first time was last year for the same novena at the same parish.
Each year Assumption parish does this novena lead up to its patronal feast day, the Solemnity of the Assumption, in which they invite preachers (clergy and even some of the seminarians (ordained and non-ordained but later in seminary) to come and give a sermon on something Marian before adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Seminarians who are still lay have to receive permission to preach “publicly” (preaching for the faithful in the context of a liturgy) – normally reserved for the ordained who are given the faculties (official ability linked to the office of bishop/priest/deacon) to preach. I explained more last year in my post about my sermon then of which I will link below.
Last Thursday evening, the fifth day of the novena, at 6pm was the preaching time, and I ended up preaching close to 11 minutes. Glory to God! – It was received well! My sermon was centered upon how I think we need a great spiritual Mother for these current contentious times in the Church filled with controversy and “havoc” – hence the sermon’s title, “A Mother For These Times.” You can guess who this great “Mother ” is. I heavily base my sermon on the first reading given for the Mass during the day for the Solemnity of the Assumption, Revelations 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB, especially the signs of the Woman with twelve stars and the dragon with seven heads as I used it to connect to our current times in the Church and to the particular parish I was preaching to and what they have been through in recent years – tough times like the rest of the universal Church but in a different sense. I touched on the parish’s situation last year as a main part, but I use it as a smaller point this time around but last year’s sermon still serves as the context for some of things I mention in this year’s. Because of this I recommend reading last year’s sermon to catch some of these things, but its still not needed to get most everything else I talk about along with the overall point.
Here’s last years sermon for context from last year’s post. It is after the lead-in information – My First Act of Public Preaching!
The great thing about this time around is everything was recorded, so in addition to the full sermon text a link to the actual video will also be provided below! The video of the sermon on YouTube is only accessible through the link below. It is an unlisted video on YouTube since I don’t really have a channel for my BLACKCATHOLIC Apostolate. The channel it is uploaded on is a non-active personal one with no content publicly available. So don’t really subscribe looking for more content. Otherwise it is will also be accessible through the upload of it on my Facebook extension later this morning at 8:30am CT.
Without further waiting, here’s my sermon “A Mother For These Times” given at the Church of the Assumption in Nashville, TN on August 10, 2023!
“Her child was caught up to God and his throne . . . Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have salvation and power come.’” Words taken from the Book of Revelation.
In the Name of the Father + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Last year I was here.
Almost full calendar year to the day I was here during this Assumption Novena, and I preached that “ the Assumption [was] coming for Assumption.” That a new birth was coming to this parish and its people after a year of tragedy and then several years of waiting, which still continue to this day.
And I assure you again that indeed this old mother church shall give a new birth to her sons and daughters even in the midst of such a prolonged labor.
But I want to draw attention to another mother in labor striving to give birth who served as a great sign in the sky.
One of the readings the Church gives us for the solemnity of the Assumption in the newer liturgy is parts from Revelation 11 and 12.
It in the reading John the Apostle receives in his extended apocalyptic vision:
“A great sign [that] appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.”
Now, from a Catholic viewpoint this woman from Revelation can be a couple of things all at once without any conflict.
Looking ahead to our solemnity and patronal feast day this woman could obviously be Mary, the Mother of Jesus, about to give birth to the “male child destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.”
The woman could also represent the faithful of Israel crying out for Jesus the Messiah.
And the woman could also be the Church giving birth to new creations from the seed of Christ and who will be attacked by the other sign in the biblical text selected for the Assumption feast.
And this other sign in the sky was the “huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems” that “stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.”
Now, the dragon can be a couple of things, too, with a number of different diabolical tasks on his evil mind.
The dragon could be the devil trying to destroy Jesus, trying to destroy God’s people Israel who are seeking the Messiah, or trying to destroy the Church.
However, we cannot forget how the dragon could also be the worldly powers, whether yesterday’s pagan or today’s secular (but still pagan) rulers who seek to do away with all that is authentically Christian and all that is truly Catholic simply because the truth is light shining in the darkness, but the world prefers “darkness to light, because [its] works [are] evil.”
But might I add as a possible interpretive point that the dragon in Revelation clearly hates the woman, too, because he who hates the child probably cannot stand the woman who gave birth to the child, either.
And so we can say that the dragon is after the woman and all that she is and all she stands for, and what are two of the things we saw she stood for?
- Mary, the mother Jesus.
- The Church, the mother of Christians.
And let me add one more.
- Assumption church, the mother of this parish.
And the dragon’s aim – the devil’s aim – is to sweep his tail and cause all kinds of havoc among the children of these three most holy mothers.
And doesn’t there seem to be all kinds of havoc among these children today?
And so, my brothers and sisters, we need what the devil hates.
We need a mother for these times.
Because just as the devil caused havoc among the stars that fell from the sky and sought to kill the child of the mother in Revelation after the temple was opened,
The same devil has appeared to cause havoc in God’s temple of the Church, and her children are feeling the danger and disorder of this havoc.
You know, I too, have seen a sign appear in the sky – a woman clothed with the spots of scandal, with the blood red moon of strife under her feet.
On her head was a drooping crown that had a shine that was smudged from confusion.
She wailed aloud in pain as the rifts within her body threatened to pull her apart from the inside.
After the year that dragon had appeared and swiped his tail with a force that would cause even a steeple on a church to sway one side, tough times appeared to get even more challenging for this great Lady.
And in labor she waits for the time that she is to give birth to a new era of life within herself.
My fellow children, we are this woman.
And we are in need of the help of someone who has been through it all and has given life before.
We need a Mother for these times. We need Mary.
Because, going back to our selection in the book of Revelation, everything changed when the woman crowned with twelve immaculate stars became an Immaculate Mother.
Everything changed when the Child she took to up in her arms was taken up to the “Everlasting Arms.”
And everything changed yet again when later this Mother was herself taken up to be with the One she bore.
And so, “Now have salvation and power come”!
Because the Kingdom of our God is our humanity with our God.
And Mary, the greatest of our humanity, was brought up to eternal life body and soul – And I better hear an “AMEN” from this Church of the Assumption!
Again, we need a Mother for these times.
A Mother from US – to show US – how to be US.
We need a Mother who is pure to blot out the stains of the scandalous.
We need a Mother who reflects the light of the Son,
to give us a new moon for our feet’s foundation.
We need a Mother who has her head on straight,
so our minds can receive the crown of clear teaching.
We need a Mother who literally bounded up the boo-boos of the body of Christ.
Because my eyes have seen another sign
- and it is the one where a Mother with a Child in her arms
crushes the head of the serpent below her feet.
To put it short – we need a Mother who was lifted up to lift US up.
- In this Church.
- In this parish.
- And in our hearts.
To the “place prepared [for us] by God.”
Because, my brothers and sisters, everything changes when we allow ourselves to become children of the same Mother whom God chose for Himself.
We look to the example of Mary’s faithfulness to remain faithful to the Church and her pastors even if our leaders may fail.
We look to the closeness of Mary to her Son in her womb to keep ourselves attached to Christ’s Body.
We look to her pure witness so that don’t become scandals
And we look to her Assumption to know the way we need to go
May she hold our hand as she beats back the havoc of the dragon!
And may every day of this novena be a step closer to Our Lord through the Mother we need in these times.
Because “Now have salvation and power come.’”
In the Name of the Father + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.