Msgr. Gregory Smith asks St. Edmund's congregation to allow the Word to echo in their hearts
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
Normally priests don't ask people to forget their homilies, but Msgr. Gregory Smith asked parishioners to just that as he celebrated Mass in St. Edmund's Church in North Vancouver July 16, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
"This evening I hope you don't remember a word I say," said Msgr. Smith. "The readings of this solemn feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are so glorious that the readings alone should echo in our hearts as we leave the church tonight."
Msgr. Smith said the readings from 1 Kings, Galatians, and the Gospel according to St. John tell almost the whole story of the devotion to Mary.
"All three readings are short, all three are powerful, all three are rich," he said.
In the first reading, 1 Kgs 18:42-45, the prophet Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed for an end to a drought afflicting the people of Israel.
"The reading shows the care God showed to Israel through the intercession of the prophet Elijah," Msgr. Smith said. He connected this to the care God shows His people today with the intercession of Mary.
Msgr. Smith added that Elijah's name is a "tipoff of how an intercessor works towards God." He said Elijah's name in Hebrew means "the Lord is my God." He added that Elijah, like Mary, lived a selfless life dedicated to the Lord.
Msgr. Smith continued to explain how, in the second reading, Gal 4:4-7, St. Paul reveals the truth about Mary being the guardian of the Incarnation.
"We are richly blessed to have Mary as an intercessor and the guardian of the truth about her Son."
In the final reading, Jn 19:25-27, Jesus entrusts Mary to the Apostle John.
"Mary is our mother," Msgr. Smith said, "not just John's mother and the mother of the apostles, but our mother."
He quoted Blessed John Paul II, who said that Jesus's first intention was not to entrust Mary to John but to entrust John to Mary and to give her a "new eternal role."
"The Church speaks to us and says 'This is your mother,' and like Jesus the Church invites us to make a place in our home just as John did."
The feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel commemorates the day St. Simon Stock was given the Brown Scapular by the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1251 to help the oppressed Carmelite order. The Carmelites instituted the feast between 1376 and 1386 to celebrate their approbation by Pope Honorius III in 1226.
The order began as a group of lay hermits on Mount Carmel who lived a life based on solitude, silence, and individual payer taught to them by St. Albert of Jerusalem in the 13th century.