Solemnity of the BVM, the Mother of God: A
Nm 6:22-27; Gl 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
When the older Irish monsignor realized he was no longer holding his Sunday mass congregation alive with his preaching, making them dozing off, he decided to seek the advice of his bishop.
When he explained his problem to the bishop, the bishop had a solution for him, saying: Next Sunday when you preach at the masses, tell the congregation that you are in love with a woman. Then tell them you have been in love with this woman for thirty years. Now, when you have the congregation sitting on the edge of their seats, wondering what will come next. Tell them that this woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Now you will have their attention, and you can talk about Mary and what she means to you. The monsignor thanked the bishop a lot. The following Sunday, he went to the pulpit and began: The bishop is in love with a woman. He has been in love with this woman for the past thirty years. Now the congregation was alive. Then the monsignor paused, scratching his head and said: And so help me, I cannot remember her name (1).
The liturgy of the Word today reminds us the circumcision of Jesus, but also emphasizes
the position of Mary who gave birth to Jesus. Scripture emphasizes the role of Mary in the divine plan of salvation. How did Mary become the mother of the Savior? When Mary responded to the message of the angel Gabriel: Let it be done to me as you say (Lk 1:38), that moment the Son of God was incarnated in the womb of Mary.
The Scripture tells us: When the designated time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to deliver from the law, those who were subjected to it, so that we might receive our status as His adopted children (Gal 4:4-5). The Creator born of the created is a mystery. However, according to the message of the angel: Nothing is impossible with God (Lk 1:37). The title of Mary, mother of God was recorded in scripture according to the word of Elizabeth: Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me (Lk 1:43). The Church recognizes Mary to be the mother of God according to the General Councils of Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople (553), Lateran (649), Toledo (675) and Vatican II (1964) in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium # 69). Moreover, the Church also declares Mary, mother of God in the Nicene Creed. The Church teaches that Jesus has two natures: the human and the divine nature. According to his human nature, Jesus needs to grow in a family with a mother and a father.
Now a second question comes to our mind: How did Mary become the mother of the Church and mother of the Christians? The Scripture again tells us: At the foot of the cross, the dying Jesus turns to his mother saying: Woman, this is your son (Jn 19:27). Saint John at that moment welcomed Mary home and took care of her. Afterwards too, once her Son entered into his glory, Mary gave a moral support to the apostles, prayed with and for the apostles (Acts 1:14). After her assumption, Mary continued praying for the Christians to receive grace and salvation (Lumen Gentium # 62). The second Vatican Council officially accepted Mary as mother of the Church and solemnly proclaimed this title by Pope Paul VI in the third talk (Nov 21/1964) of the Council.
Today we begin the New Year, we should spend some quiet time in order to reflect, like Mary, to look back into the past year, reexamining our relationship with God, thanking him for all his favors he has given in the last year, evaluating whether we have opened ourselves to his word and his will. If we just complain about our misfortunes and unhappiness, our eyes would be covered by negativism, unable to see our blessings and the bright side of life
At the beginning of the New Year, let us ask God to forgive our failures, our shortcomings in the last year. Each one of us might want to make resolutions to change in the new year, for instance resolution to give up a bad habit like heavy drinking, or chain-smoking, or to spend more time with our family members. In that way, each year when we grow older, we add something more beneficial to our soul and spirit. We might want to look to the future also. Even though we are not sure about what the future would be. However, like Mary, we can put our complete trust and faith in God so that we can say like her: Let it done to me, as you say (Lk 1:38).
Prayer asking Mary to be our mother:
Oh Mary, at the foot of the cross,
Jesus entrusted you to be mother of the Apostle John.
Since then you gave moral support to the Apostles and prayed for them.
Today I accept you to be my mother personally.
And I ask you to travel with me
on all the roads of my life.
Show me the way to God.
At the hour, God calls me from this life,
come to my bedside to counsel me. Amen.
John Tran Binh Trong
. This story is from The Catholic Digest