Undoubtedly, the entire life of Jesus had a saving value for humankind. The last few weeks of his life had a special character for the fulfillment of His life and in His work of universal salvation; it is what we call the Paschal Mystery: a mystery of suffering, death and resurrection.
Christian life is so rich that it cannot be contained in one definition. It can be described in many different ways, and I am sure that the most significant and most inclusive description is this: Christian life is a conscious participation in the Paschal Mystery of the Redeemer.
Mary is the one who, more than anyone else, shared in the Paschal Mystery, starting from when she first said “Yes” to the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) all the way to the day when Simeon told her that a sword would pierce her heart (Luke 2:35); from the time she began to hear aggressive words against Jesus, up to the moment she stood under the cross (John 19:25); from seeing Jesus die on the cross (John 19:30) to his burial in the sepulcher (John 19:42).
Mary drank without hesitation the chalice God gave her; exactly the way her Son Jesus had done (Matthew 26:39). In this way she shared in Christ’s Resurrection and in His mission for the salvation of humankind.
Mary inspires us, intercedes for us and is a bright light in our journey, so that we too may drink, as she did, from the chalice of life with great courage, knowing that drinking from it in communion with Jesus has a saving power for ourselves and for the entire world.
Mary invites us to live in the light of God’s given eternal values, even when doing so implies suffering, so as to reach the fullness of life through the resurrection.
Mary asks us to lift up the chalice of salvation in communion with all people so that all may come to the knowledge of the truth and have life in Jesus, through the power of the Spirit.
In the life of Mary we see that passion for Jesus, is always passion for others.
The occasions for us to practice a true missionary spirit are many and at times surprising. I take this account from my missionary memories in Uganda, Africa:
“Yesterday afternoon, while we were in the middle of our Sunday hour of adoration, we heard coughing from the front porch. After prayer, we went to see who was waiting to talk to us and we found a total stranger lying on the cement floor. He had come to die there. He was not moving and we could only hear his soft moaning coming from the depth of his being. From the medical card we found in his pocket we came to know that he had been on his way to Lacor Hospital, but fainted along the way and decided to stop at our place. A woman who happened to be present became his angel: she cleaned him up and dressed him with some clothes I had given her. Together with Fr. Umberto and the entire community we prayed for him. Then we placed him in a comfortable bed. He died during the night. And so we buried a brother in our common humanity and in Christ the Redeemer. His name was Victor Olar.”
Mary and many saints like Daniel Comboni were great missionaries through attention to others and their compassion. If we want to be people of integrity, we must follow their example, particularly embracing our broken world, “recognizing the existence of a crucified people and striving to take them down from the cross” (J. Sobrino).