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For the Feast of the Assumption (Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:39 pm)

On this feast day of the Assumption, we want to share with you a few paragraphs from a homily by ARCC's long-time friend, Archbishop Emeritus Leobard D'Souza of Nagpur, India. Bishop Bhai, as he is known, suffered a stroke last December. This is a way for us to give him voice. The entire homily can be read at: http://bishopbhai.org/mary.htm

"If we see anything in Mary it is faith in her son and his mission to recall Israel to what God wanted of them. We have for ourselves, then, a model of faith in the Jesus way, a conviction that the radical egalitarianism he preached and lived is desirable, possible, and worth dying for. We have in Mary a woman faithful to the duties to which her life called her, fulfilling them in moments of great joy, great pain, and sometimes in great loneliness.

We are called to do the same. We have in Mary a model who speaks out and identifies human needs to those who can do something to fill them. She gives voice to the voiceless. So must we.

She stands at the foot of a cross on which hung a man dying the most horrible death that Rome had to offer, branded the worst possible kind of criminal, identifying herself with him, loving him, believing in him when he has almost lost faith in his own self and in his God. So must we stand with those on our political, economic, and social margins, believing in them when they have often lost all faith in themselves and perhaps even in their God.

Mary invites us to one more thing and that is to take women as seriously in our lives as her son did in his. Jesus was a feminist. Make no mistake about that. Contrary to the accepted norms of his society he did not see women as second-class citizens or moral hazards. They were his colleagues and friends. He encouraged them to use their minds. He enjoyed their company. He was grateful for their services. He was available to them. He applauded their successes and empathized with their pain and distress. He did what he could to help them grow in health of body, mind, and spirit, and he learned from them to grow in his own body, mind, and spirit. He treated them humanely and they did the same for him.

He nurtured them and he allowed the women in his life to nurture him. He loved them and they loved him. They experienced that authentic loving means nothing less than working toward the spiritual development and well being of the beloved. He did not exploit them nor allow them to exploit him. It is not surprising then that leadership in many of the earliest Christian communities was in the hands of women, and very competent women at that.

If Mary is our mother and our model, then we need to understand and admire her for the valiant woman that she was. She was of service but she was not a doormat. If 'the apple does not fall very far from the tree', then we need to look closely and realistically at her son and in him see her qualities that helped him to become what he was. If we are faithful to our own vocation, those qualities of body, mind, and spirit must also be ours."

Archbishop Emeritus Leobard D'Souza of Nagpur, India

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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