Mary, the Mother of God
Num.6:22-7; Gal. 4:4-7; Lk. 2:16-21
A boy asked his father, “Dad, if three frogs were sitting on a limb that hangs over a pool, and one frog decided to jump off into the pool, how many frogs would be left on the limb?”
The dad replied, “Two.” “No,” the son replied. “Here is the question again: There are three frogs and one decided to jump, how many are left?”
The dad said, “Oh, I get the point! If one decided to jump, the others would too. So there are none left.” The boy said, “No dad, the answer is three. The frog only DECIDED to jump.”
Does that sound like our last year’s resolutions? Great inspiration and great resolutions, but oftentimes we only decide, and months later we are still on the same limb of doing nothing.
Since we celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God on New Year’s Day, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year?
I pray that the Lord Jesus and His mother Mary may enrich your lives during the New Year with an abundance of God’s blessings.
Today’s first reading gives us the beautiful divine blessing from the book of Numbers for the New Year. “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 peace!
Today’s Feast of Mary, the Mother of God is a very appropriate way to begin a new year. This celebration reminds us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is also our Heavenly Mother.
Hence, our ideal motto for the New Year 2019 should be “Through Mary to Jesus!”
The Church observes this day also as the World Day of Peace and invites us to pray specially for peace in the world.
In his message for this World Day of Peace, January 1, 2014, Pope Francis emphasized “fraternity as the foundation of peace and as the pathway to peace.”
Actually, this is a very ancient feast, which used to be celebrated on October 11th. Today’s feast answers the question, “Why do Catholics honor Mary?”
Non-Christians sometimes believe that we Catholics worship Mary as a goddess who gave birth to our God. Non-Catholic Christians argue that there is no Biblical basis for honoring Mary and that Catholics worship her and make her equal to God.
They fail to understand why we honor Mary and name churches and institutions after her. They do not understand what we mean by calling her the Mother of God.
The truth is that we Catholics do not worship Mary as we worship, adore, God. We honor her, respect her, love her and seek her intercession, praying, “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners.”
We do not, ever, equate her with God nor replace God with her. Rather, we honor her, primarily because God honored her by choosing her to become the mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, when He took on our flesh and became Man.
We learn the great truth that Mary is the Mother of God from St. Luke’s Gospel, in the message given by the angel to Mary: “You are going to be the mother of a Son and you will call Him Jesus, and He will be called the Son of the Most High.”
After the angel had appeared to her and told her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth.
At Mary’s greeting Elizabeth said, “Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me?” [Lk. 1:43].
Based on these references in the New Testament and on the traditional belief of the early Church, the Council of Ephesus affirmed in AD 431 that Mary was truly the Mother of God.
Today’s Gospel tells us that the first people who came to adore the Baby Jesus were the shepherds.
They were taking care of their flocks of sheep when an angel appeared to them and communicated to them the Good News concerning the birth of the Son of God. The angel told them that they should not be afraid.
And that is precisely the message that this solemnity we celebrate today brings us.
Through this Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, the Church tells us that we should not be afraid, that we should prepare ourselves for the beginning of the New Year by asking Our Lord and our Most Beloved Mother, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, to come to our aid.
We should ask her, not just today – although today is an especially important occasion for doing so – but always, to help us to live like people who have been renewed, ready, with her aid, to identify ourselves more closely with the teachings of the Church and with the Commandments, so that we may follow Christ more closely.
Three ways to make the New Year meaningful: a) something to dream, b) something to do, and c) Someone to love.
“I have a dream’” said Martin Luther King. We should all have a noble plan of action (dream a noble dream), for every day in the New Year.
We need to remember the proverb: “Cherish your yesterdays, dream your tomorrows, but live your today.” It has been truly said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. We must not be barren fig trees, nor barren branches in God’s vineyard.
We must be always engaged, doing good for others and loving the men and women we encounter in daily life, for they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This becomes easy when we make God the center of our life and realize His presence in all the people around us. Let us light a candle instead of blaming the darkness around us.
Just as the moon borrows the sun’s light to illuminate the earth, we must radiate the light of God shining within us.
A resolution for the New Year: We might resolve to start every morning with a short prayer: “Good morning, Lord. Thank You for extending my life for one more day.
Please grant me a special anointing of your Holy Spirit so that I may do your holy will today and avoid everything evil.” Amen. Be Blessed and Be a Blessing.