Homily for the feast of Mary Mother of God

Year A  -  Luke 2:16-21


by

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."



Homily:


"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."

Today we celebrate a feast of Mary:  we invoke Mary under the title of Mother of God!  It is a very great day, for this title given to Mary is the one that expresses her highest dignity, the most elevated function which Mary exercises in the economy of salvation.  The reason this is so is that it is an absolutely unique title:  no other creature could or will ever be able to enjoy a similar dignity, for Jesus, the Son of God, has and will have only one Mother!  This relation between the Son of God and Mary is a relation that is second to none, and that, for this reason, is very mysterious - it is the very Mystery of Mary’s life - because this relation has no point of comparison that would permit us to completely understand it.

Mary is a unique creature, not only in herself, but especially in virtue of her privileged relation with Christ, her Son according to the flesh.  This relation of Mary with the Son of God confers on this woman, blessed among all women, a very individual character:  she is the one who was united to Christ, not only spiritually, but also corporeally.  It is this unique character that allows her to unite herself to the Most Holy Trinity in such a mysterious way that none of the other believers in Christ could not do it.  The union of the Most Holy Trinity and Mary goes so far that Saint Maximilian Kolbe, following Saint Hesychius of Jerusalem (Patrologia Graeca 93, 1461), didn't hesitate to proclaim Mary, "olon tes triados to pleroma," the universal achievement of the Most Holy Trinity!

"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."

Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart!  Once Jesus had been born, Mary no longer had in her the bodily presence of her Son.  However, she then intensely united herself to her newborn, and her mind was so immersed in contemplation that the bodily presence previous to birth was, as it were, sublimated, and was surpassed by this mysterious spiritual presence, the fruit of meditation and contemplation.  Mary in prayer was one with her Son!  Mary, here on earth, was already enjoying the union of glory that belongs to the elect of Heaven!  Certainly Mary continued to live in faith like all believers, but she also had this mystical experience which was hers throughout all her life on earth.

"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."

May we do as the shepherds did on the night of the Savior’s birth!  The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God!  This is what we must do during our life on earth:  praise and glorify God.  Yes!  We must praise and glorify God like the shepherds who saw not only the child Jesus, but also Joseph, and especially Mary!  They saw Mary in contemplation and in adoration before her Son:  this vision touched them deeply, and led them to praise and glorify God!

We who are going to celebrate the Eucharist must also praise and glorify God:  is this not the very sense of the word ‘Eucharist,’ which means "thanksgiving"?  Let us ask Mary to help us in our prayer:  let us ask her for her spirit of contemplation and of adoration!  May the new year that begins today be our year with Mary, in the faith and the love of God who came into the world to save us!


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