JAN. 1. MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD. LK. 2. 16-21
Updated: Jul 24
The shepherds hurried away to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told. When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.
Prayer for todays Feast: MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD.
O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary
bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation!
Grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her,
through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life,
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. Who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever.
Second reading for today: Galatians 4:4-7 God sent his Son, born of a woman.
When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba, Father’, and it is this that makes you a son, you are not a slave any more; and if God has made you son, then he has made you heir.
As we start a new year it is only right the Church should turn our attention to Mary, the Mother of God, as she was born first, and without her Jesus Christ would not have existed. In being born of Mary, Christ became not only the Son of God, but also a son of Man, and as a result, being one of us, he has made us, through Baptism, heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven
The joy of Christmas Season is all about what God has done for us in being born into this world and how he become a member of the human race, “being born of a woman”. The liturgy today turns our attention to this ‘woman’ and the central role God gave her in his plan of salvation!
Mary had to fulfil all the functions of a mother for Jesus Christ, the son of God, a role that goes well beyond just giving birth, as it involves nurturing and caring for Christ for a period of many years, so she a had a major influence on him, guiding and influencing him for his entire life,
And while today’s focus is clearly on her role as “The Mother of God” it is equally important we also acknowledge, at the start of this new year, that she is also our mother; - and that she has the same nurturing and caring responsibilities towards us and the Church; - duties she was specifically given, by Christ, as he hung upon the Cross!
What flows from this however is we also have a God-given duty to acknowledge and honour Mary as our Mother; - to trust in her motherly love; - and to turn to her; - with confidence, when we experience difficulties and trials. And after we have done that we need to heed her motherly advice; - which will be made clear if we maintain a listening and humble heart!
Gospel Acclamation Heb1:1-2
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
now he speaks to us through his Son.
From a letter of St Athanasius
The Word took our nature from Mary
The Word took to himself the sons of Abraham, says the Apostle, and so had to be like his brothers in all things. He had then to take a body like ours. This explains the fact of Mary’s presence: she is to provide him with a body of his own, to be offered for our sake. Scripture records her giving birth, and says: She wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Her breasts, which fed him, were called blessed. Sacrifice was offered because the child was her firstborn. Gabriel used careful and prudent language when he announced his birth. He did not speak of “what will be born in you” to avoid the impression that a body would be introduced into her womb from outside; he spoke of “what will be born from you,” so that we might know by faith that her child originated within her and from her.
By taking our nature and offering it in sacrifice, the Word was to destroy it completely and then invest it with his own nature, and so prompt the Apostle to say: This corruptible body must put on incorruption; this mortal body must put on immortality.
This was not done in outward show only, as some have imagined. This is not so. Our Saviour truly became man, and from this has followed the salvation of man as a whole. Our salvation is in no way fictitious, nor does it apply only to the body. The salvation of the whole man, that is, of soul and body, has really been achieved in the Word himself.
What was born of Mary was therefore human by nature, in accordance with the inspired Scriptures, and the body of the Lord was a true body: It was a true body because it was the same as ours. Mary, you see, is our sister, for we are all born from Adam.
The words of St John, the Word was made flesh, bear the same meaning, as we may see from a similar turn of phrase in St Paul: Christ was made a curse for our sake. Man’s body has acquired something great through its communion and union with the Word. From being mortal it has been made immortal; though it was a living body it has become a spiritual one; though it was made from the earth it has passed through the gates of heaven.
Even when the Word takes a body from Mary, the Trinity remains a Trinity, with neither increase nor decrease. It is for ever perfect. In the Trinity we acknowledge one Godhead, and thus one God, the Father of the Word, is proclaimed in the Church.