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Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

“No matter what happens in our lives, no matter what happens in our society — the cross is the answer. His Sacred Heart is the answer. The Immaculate Heart and Sorrowful Heart of Our Lady is the answer. This is how much God loves us.”

-Archbishop José H. Gomez

Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
June 1, 2020

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

We honor Mary our Blessed Mother today in this beautiful memorial that Pope Francis gave to the universal Church two years ago.

And we ask her intercession especially today for our city and for our country as we continue to confront violence and unrest, and also as we continue to pray for an end to coronavirus pandemic.

May our Blessed Mother help us to reflect on all that is happening in our world in light of God’s plan for creation and for our lives.

This is what is so important, my brothers and sisters. We need to always know that our lives, that events in the world — everything is unfolding within the providence of God.

We may not understand things, especially the “why.” And so often we can get confused and discouraged. Why do some people live and some people die? Why is evil permitted, and suffering? Why is there injustice in our society?

These are the questions in every human heart. And they have been the questions since the beginning of time. And we have these questions today, especially with the pandemic and the unrest in our cities.

We cannot know the mind of God. But we can always know his love for us.

The Gospel today shows us a picture. Jesus on the cross — his heart opened for us, his arms stretched wide for us.

No matter what happens in our lives, no matter what happens in our society — the cross is the answer. His Sacred Heart is the answer. The Immaculate Heart and Sorrowful Heart of Our Lady is the answer. This is how much God loves us.

And the cross was his plan from before all creation. The first reading this morning takes us back to the beginning of the world, and the sin of the first man and the first woman.

Those words that we hear this morning: “After Adam had eaten of the tree, the Lord God called to him and asked him, ‘Where are you?”

God created this world out of love. He created his human family for love, for freedom, for beauty and truth. He gave each one of his children this beautiful gift of life — and he did this even though he knew we would use our freedom to turn away from him and to hurt one another.

And yet God never stops loving us. He never stops calling to us, from those first moments in the Garden of Eden. God is still calling to us today, to each one of us: “Where are you?”

Even when Adam and Eve disobeyed, even when they tried to hide from him and tried to live without him, God did not abandon his children. This is still true today: we can turn our back on God, but he will never turn his back on us.

There is no story of sin that is not also a story of God’s invitation to repentance and mercy. Not in the Bible, not in our lives, and not in human history.

God tells the evil serpent today: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.

God’s promise is still true. It will be true until the end of history. And of course, the “woman” is Mary, and her “offspring” is Jesus. We know that. Their love will conquer every evil, in our hearts and in the world.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, the message of this great memorial is this — trust in God, trust in his love. He has a plan. His love is real and his mercy is true.

God still goes out searching for his children. In our sinfulness, in the events that are happening in in society, in history — God is still seeking us, just as we are seeking him.

God asks, “Where are you?” And he also wants to show us where we are supposed to be. And where we should be is at the foot of the cross — with Mary and Jesus.

On the cross today, we hear Jesus’ last words — and he is speaking to me and to you, to every person.

Jesus says, “I thirst.” He thirsts for us to love him, just as he loves us. Jesus says, “Behold, your Mother.” He wants us to love Mary, just as he loves her.

So, today let us ask for the grace to answer the call of God and come to the foot of the cross, to be with the woman and her Son.

Let us entrust the troubles in our world and the troubles in our lives to our Holy Mother, who is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and the mother of every one of us.

May she help us always to hear the voice of God in our lives and to trust in his love, his mercy, and his Providence.