Homily for the feast of Mary Mother of God - Year C - Lk. 2:16-21
Father Daniel Meynen
"When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, « Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. » And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb."
"When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, « Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. » And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."
The feast today used to be celebrated on October 11th, before the liturgical reform promulgated by the second Council of Vatican took place. It is Pope Pius XI who instituted this feast for the universal Church in 1932, commemorating the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus (22 June 431). This Council was very famous in the history of the Church, since the dogma of the divine motherhood of Mary ("Theotokos" -- "Mother of God") was solemnly declared there in order to remedy to the vehement attacks of Nestorius who denied this truth of faith. As the Christmas liturgy sings the glories of Mary on the octave day of Nativity, that is to say eight days after Christmas, it is fully proper that we celebrate the feast of Mary's divine motherhood today rather than another one. The Holy Spirit who guides the Church provides thusly for all the details of the divine liturgy!
Notice the text of Saint Luke. He says: "The shepherds... found Mary and Joseph, and the babe... " Saint Luke enumerates the persons: he begins with Mary and he finishes with the child Jesus. This shows to us in some manner the way to follow in order to go towards Jesus: this way, it is Mary! Not Mary alone, but Mary with Joseph. Mary is always a Virgin: before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. Mary preserves her virginity forever, a gift of the Holy Spirit. But, with Joseph, who is her Spouse, she makes only one thing: the Mystery which is the one of a real marriage. Therefore, in order to go to Jesus, we are invited by the Holy Spirit to pass through Mary, as well as through Joseph, her Spouse.
Mary brings into the world her newborn Child, and she appears, like our mediatrix, next to her divine Son! Mary is the Mother of God, and this unique and all special mission permits to her, thanks to God, to be our intermediary between God and us. What a wealth in this title of the Mother of God! This privilege is unique, because Jesus, the Son of God, has only one Mother, like every man, like every woman who comes into the world. That is why the divine motherhood makes Mary our mediatrix next to Christ, who is the God-Man. We must all go to Jesus through Mary, because the place which she has in the Church is unique and without equal! Mary, by her divine motherhood, is the first of all the believers in Jesus, the Christ!
"And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb."
The circumcision of the Child Jesus is the Mystery which we are celebrating eight days after Christmas, that is to say, today. Saint Luke stresses this fact that the Child receives then the name of Jesus, as it was indicated by the angel before his conception. Here again, Mary and Joseph are united in a common function: the one of giving to the Son of God his name of the Man, Jesus. The angel Gabriel had said to Mary: "You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus" (Lk. 1:31); and the angel of the Lord had said to Joseph, in wonders: "Your wife... will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Mt. 1:21) Mary and Joseph are inseparable in their relation to Jesus, the Savior of the world!
We are going to receive the Body and the Blood of Christ. Ask Saint Joseph that Mary might be also with us, as she was with him, when we shall approach Jesus, our Eucharist. Because we also are going to proclaim our faith in the Son of God and say from the bottom of our heart: "It is you, Jesus! It is you, the Savior of the world!" We are calling the Son of God by his name, like Mary and Joseph did it during the circumcision! May our communion of today be the one of our eternal salvation!