Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Homily Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Year C

Happy New Year – my blessing to you for the new year is the text of the First Reading: “The Lord bless you and keep you!  The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”

It is because of this Solemnity that we celebrate today, that Mary has all of her other titles and graces: Her Assumption, Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Heart, and Most Holy Name; her own Nativity; her appearances at Fatima, Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Mt. Carmel; her Sorrows, her Rosary, her Presentation, and Queenship; and her Visitation of her cousin Elizabeth all depend on her being the Mother of God.

Today’s solemnity is one of the many great mysteries we having been, and will continue to, move in and out of.  Paul’s verse in the Second Reading, “God sent his Son, born of a woman,” encapsulates the whole day.  The Eternal Son of the Father, the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Trinity assumed human flesh, taking the body and blood of his mother Mary at his conception; he truly became man.  From that point he is forever fully God and fully man.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  He is the son of a woman.  He is OF God and OF Mary.  The mother of Jesus is the Mother of God.  This great gift of divine Motherhood is not a gift for her alone but for us all.

The meaning and purpose of Mary being the Mother of God are profound mysteries. Who she is, her relation to her Son, what the shepherds told her about all Glory being due to Jesus Christ, that He is Savior, Christ, and Lord – all of these things, the Gospel said, Mary “reflected on” in her heart. This means that she continually “pieced together” in her heart the meaning of these mysteries.  As she raised our Savior and watched him grow, they expanded more and more in her faith and understanding.  When we turn to her and remain close to her, when we place ourselves under her mantle, she pieces these together for us too, helping us to see how she is our Mother too, that Christ is our brother, and that God is our Father.

By the Holy Spirit of our Baptism we enjoy adoption as sons of the Father, sharing in the Sonship of Christ, so that we can proclaim “Abba!” - “Father!” – an intimate, personal way of addressing God.  Mary helps us to see ourselves in such an intimate relationship with God.  She brings us close to God and helps us approach Him. She is the short and easy way to Him. Going to God through her is also the more humble way to approach Him. True, Christ is our sole mediator with God.  But Mary participates in this mediatorship, humbly and lovingly drawing us close to Him.

St. Bernard explains that: “She consoles us in our distress, enlivens our faith, strengthens our hope, gets rid of our fears, and invigorates our timidity.”  She also teaches us like a mother should – parents being the primary formators in the faith of children.  She teaches us how to say Yes to God’s will, how to receive Christ deeply in our very being, how to generously give him to the world.

She also helps us with our images of the Father.  Often our images of God come from the experiences of our natural fathers.  If our natural father was harsh, she helps us to know God’s mercy.  If our natural father was absent, she helps us to know God’s presence.  If our natural father was distant, she brings us close to Him.  When our natural fathers do well, she helps us to see how this points to our heavenly Father.  When our natural fathers are merciful, present, and close to us she helps us to attribute these values to God.

In this new year, our Blessed Mother, the Mother of God, is challenging us to say Yes to Him.  Today we take time to consider how it is that Mary is truly our Mother; what kind of son or daughter we have been to her; how we can allow her to be our mother; and each of us to be her son or daughter.  This could be a new year of a renewed relationship with Mary, our Mother.  Perhaps we could strengthen or pick up a Marian devotion that has fallen away, like the rosary.  Our we could take up some spiritual reading to learn more about her. Scott Hahn’s book, Hail Holy Queen, or Fulton Sheen’s book, The World’s First Love, are excellent places to start. Any time we honor, venerate, or pray to Mary, she always redirects these to her Son, she never keeps them for herself.  Know that as we grow in our relationship with the Mother of God, we can be assured of growing close to her Divine Son.

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