On Aug. 15, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Gospel I proclaimed at Mass was that of the Visitation. In this Gospel, we hear how Mary, after saying yes and conceiving Christ in her womb, goes to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary brings the presence of Christ to her cousin as she makes the visit. Mary not only brings the real, physical presence of Christ who is in her womb, but also brings Christ to her cousin through her selfless actions. Bringing Christ into the world is the calling of missionary discipleship. Mary was the first missionary disciple within the Church. She put her trust in God but also put that trust, that Faith into action. She selflessly gave assistance to her cousin who was with child. Mary, as it states in the Gospel, went in haste. She didn’t sit about debating the pros and cons. She immediately went to bring Christ into the world in her actions of love. Thus the reward we see Mary receive for her faithful missionary discipleship was the glory of heaven, body and soul.
We are all called to missionary discipleship, that is to bring Christ into the world. We do this by keeping the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works obviously are actions and these actions are love. Remember love is God—Christ. By doing these actions we bring Christ into the world. Look at the first word of these works of mercy: Give food, bring water, welcome, clothe, visit, bury, instruct, counsel, admonish, bear patiently, forgive, comfort and pray. These are all verbs, words of action. Many people today take these simple works for granted. We don’t have time to visit, we don’t have time to pray, we don’t instruct in the Faith, many now don’t even pray for and bury the dead. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate, it is complacency, no action. When this happens we take Christ for granted and stop bringing Him into the world. From the very beginnings of the Church, Mary shows who we are as followers of Christ in the way of missionary discipleship. The Gospel of the Visitation is more than a meeting of two cousins; it is a challenge to every Christian, a challenge to be like Mary, to be missionary disciples, to never stop bringing Christ into the world.
Monsignor Steven Kachel
Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Onalaska
Published in the November 2021 Issue of Catholic Life Magazine