In the twelfth century, some hermits lived on Mount Carmel in what is now northern Israel. This was located near the fountain of Elijah. By the thirteenth century, some called these hermits the “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” This rings especially true with our Gospel reading today, in which Jesus tells us that whoever does the will of the Father is “brother, and sister, and mother” to him.
This feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the traditional date in the year 1251 in which Our Lady gave the scapular to Saint Simon Stock, a leader of the Carmelites at the time. He promoted the devotion to the scapular and so the Carmelites have been particularly connected with the Blessed Virgin ever since, and in fact, they played a prominent role in encouraging devotion to our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
In addition to Our Lady, the Carmelites are particularly connected to the prophet Elijah, who on Mount Carmel was able to embarrass the prophets of the so-called god Baal, later putting them to death, all four hundred or so of them! This particularly enraged the queen Jezebel, whose determination to kill Elijah in retaliation was thwarted by the Lord, vindicating Elijah’s actions and confirming that Baal was no god at all.
And so, as the Carmelites give witness, we are all called to be brother and sister and mother to Jesus by devoting ourselves to following God’s will, and imploring the intercession of the Blessed Virgin for all of our endeavors and plans. The Almighty has truly done great things for all of us, and holy is his Name.