St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

The Hail Mary                                                                               -Homily October 11, 2015

 

October is the month of the Rosary… I thought it could be helpful to remember that the Hail Mary, the prayer we repeat for more than fifty times each time we pray the Rosary, comes from the Bible.

 

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee.” The first words come from the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary when he comes to announce the birth of our Lord. “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"” (Luke 1:26-28). These words are the words of an Angel, coming with a message from God himself. We speak to our Lady with the words of God.

 

“Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb.” Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. “When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"” (Luke 1:41-42). She addressed our Lady with words inspired by the Holy Spirit. These are the words we use every day to address our Mother! Mary herself had said, filled with the Holy Spirit: “All generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:47).

 

“Jesus.” Jesus is the center of the Hail Mary! The reason we love Mary is Jesus!

 

“Holy Mary.” We call Mary “holy” because the Angel called her “full of grace” and because Elizabeth called her “blessed.” These words have basically the same meaning. If any Christian could be called “saint” or “holy one” (cf. 2Co 13:13), why could we not call “holy” the one that the Bible calls “full of grace” and “blessed among women”?

 

“Mother of God.” Elizabeth said to Mary: “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:43). “The Lord” and “God” mean the same thing.

 

“Pray for us sinners.” The apostle James says: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). If we sinners can pray for each other, how much more effective the prayer of a righteous person would be, and how much more still the prayer of the Holy Mother of God!

 

“Now and at the hour of our death.” Because at the hour of our death our eternal reward will be decided, we ask our Mother to take care of us not only now, but particularly “at the hour of our death.” “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Mt 16:26). “But God said to the rich man, 'You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?'” (Luke 12:20). The best business we can make is to save our souls. And mind you, this includes to save our neighbour. That is why we do not say “pray for me, a sinner” but we ask “pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” Amen!  -Fr. Andrew