Sunday, January 1, 2017

Mary, Mother of God: A True Mother

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God or Theotokos.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.  This does not mean that God came into existence because of her.  God has always existed.  Mary is a creature of God.  She is the “handmade” of the Lord as she called herself.

Mary is called the Mother of God because her Son, Jesus Christ the Messiah is God the Son.   Since Jesus is God, then the one who gave Him flesh is called Mother of God.

What an awesome thought.  A human female is the Mother of the Word Incarnate.  She is the Mother of God!   Since the early days of the Catholic Church, devotion to Mary has existed.  The “Sub Tuum Praesidium” is one of the earliest prayers to Mary.

This is a day of Holy Obligation in which all Catholics must treat it as a Sunday and attend Mass.   Let us take this day to recollect on Mary and her role in Salvation.   Mary was always open to life.  She said Yes to God’s will that she be the vessel in which God the Son would take on a human form.

She is a model for all women, especially those who push the disturbing idea that pregnancy and bearing children violates a woman’s bodily autonomy or dignity.  This tokophobia must be replaced with the Yes to life from the Theotokos.

Protestants have issue with this title because they feel Catholics are giving causation to God, or that by calling Mary the "Mother of God," Catholics are making Mary the God of God.  This is just not true.  The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is biblical. In Luke 1:43 Elizabeth calls Mary the "Mother of her Lord."

The first reading gives us the blessing often used at Mass and which was a favorite of St. Francis of Assisi. In it, we read about the Lord letting His face shine upon the person being blessed. Mary as Mother of God got to see God face to face. She held Christ in her hands, fed Him and did all the things a mother does in order to care for a child. The responsorial Psalm repeats the phrase calling to mind God's mercy. God so loved the world that He became a small baby boy. If that does not say mercy, I do not know what does. He did not come down as a warrior with a sword or machine gun. Jesus came as a defenseless poor baby boy.  All of this was planned beforehand.  The second reading reminds us of this.  God sent His son born of a woman, born under the law of man.  He did this so that we could be adopted as sons and daughters. By Christ becoming man, He became a son of Adam and Eve making Him our brother in human flesh. This is jus awesome to think about!

The Gospel tells us of this baby boy lying in a manger.  We are told that Mary kept all of the events that occurred in her heart. I would personally love to know these things. I bet they are memories with lots of emotions.  Mary was a true mother. She did all a mom does. Today's Gospel shows the humanity of Mary and Jesus as Mother and Child.  Mary is also our mother and our link to Christ Jesus (Revelation 12:17). Her last recorded words were, "Do whatever He tells you (John 2:5)."  Let us take this advice to heart.

May Our Lady pray for us and show us the way to Christ her Son.  Mary Mother of God, Pray for us!

We take refuge under thy protection,holy Mother of God:

Do not despise our prayers
in time of necessity:
but always free us
from all dangers,
O blessed and glorious Virgin.

Here are some reflections from holy writers:

The shepherds did not keep silent about the hidden mysteries that they had come to know by divine influence. They told whomever they could. Spiritual shepherds in the church are appointed especially for this, that they may proclaim the mysteries of the Word of God and that they may show to their listeners that the marvels which they have learned in the Scriptures are to be marveled at.

— St. Bede
(672 - 735)

Source: “Homilies on the Gospel, 1.7,” quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 42.



In the festivity of Christmas we read of the pastors of Bethlehem who were the first to be called to the crib, to see the new-born Child: “And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” (Lk 2:16.) Let us stop at that “found”. This word indicates a search.
 Man is a being who seeks. His whole history confirms it. Even the life of each of us bears witness to it. Many are the fields in which man seeks and seeks again and then finds and, sometimes, after having found, he begins to seek again. Among all these fields in which man is revealed as a being who seeks, there is one, the deepest. It is the one which penetrates most intimately into the very humanity of the human being. And it is the one most closely united with the meaning of the whole of human life…
 Man is the being who seeks God. And even after having found him, he continues to seek him. And if he seeks him sincerely, he has already found him; as, in a famous fragment of Pascal, Jesus says to man: “Take comfort, you would not be looking for me if you had not already found me.”

— St. John Paul II
(1920 - 2005)


Source: John Paul II, Audience on December 27, 1978



Spiritual circumcision takes place chiefly in holy baptism, when Christ makes us partakers of the Holy Spirit too. Of this Joshua, that Jesus of old, who became the leader of the Israelites after Moses, was also a type. He led the children of Israel across the Jordan, then made them stop and immediately circumcised them with knives of stone. So when we have crossed the Jordan, Christ circumcises us with the power of the Holy Spirit, not by purifying the flesh but rather by cutting off the defilement that is in our souls. On the eighth day, therefore, Christ was circumcised and received his name.



— St. Cyril of Alexandria
(375 - 444)


Source: “Commentary on Luke, Homily 3,” quoted in Arthur A. Just, ed., Luke, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 45.


Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010117.cfm

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