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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Reflection 2021-01-01 Mary, Mother of God

Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 67; Galaatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21
Mary: Mother of God - Theotokos
This is eight days after the birth of Jesus, the day when he was named and circumcised. We also celebrate Mary, as the Mother of God. This feast remembers the role of Mary in the incarnation of Christ. This title was given to Mary in the Council of Ephesus when the Church was debating on the two natures of Christ, on how these two natures co-exist in the Person of Jesus Christ. Some asserted that the two natures are separate so Mary is only the Mother of Christ but not the Mother of God. Others say these two natures co-exist in harmony there is true union, there is of both one Christ and one Son; for the difference of the natures is not taken away by the union, but rather the divinity and the humanity make perfect for us the one Lord Jesus Christ by their ineffable and inexpressible union… This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the Holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word being personally united is said to be born according to the flesh. (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia)
Mary was called Mother of God because Jesus is both God and man and Jesus was made human through Mary. This proclamation led to the erection of the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome in the 5th century, shortly after the council.
But why are the natures of Christ important. At mass, when the gifts are prepared, the deacon or priest pours wine to the chalice and puts a little water in it. As this is done, the deacon or priest says By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. The two natures of Christ should be united in him so Christ can share in our humanity to allow us to share in his divinity. We are redeemed, because Christ is both God and man.
This taking on flesh of Jesus proves what God wants to give us as stated in the blessings of Aaron in the First Reading: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. God wants to bless us. He wants to give us good gifts. He wants to give us peace. This is why Jesus became man: so we can be reconciled with God and be at peace with him and ourselves.
When we are reconciled with God, St Paul said in the Second Reading, we can cry out Abba, Father. We are no longer slaves but sons, and if son, then also heir, through God. God has a plan and he wants us to be an heir of his kingdom. But this kingdom is not based on any material kingdom. It is one that is shown in the Gospel: founded on the child in a manger and not in a palace; of an Almighty God who gave up everything to be a slave; of God who was willing to die, so the unworthy creature can be raised up to be his children. This is the kingdom God wants to give us, one where he is Lord, one based on his Power and not on earthly power, one that is based on grace and not in force: one whose foundation is Jesus Christ.
The past year was a difficult year for all. Sad to say, being a child of God does not make us immune from sufferings. But because Jesus became man, we know, he is in the midst of the suffering, OUR suffering. We know that despite what has happened, God is still with us, using these difficulties and sufferings for our good and for his glory. We look towards the new year with hope that God will lead us triumphantly through our sufferings into victory over them. But this requires surrendering our lives to him, allowing Jesus to enter our lives, our situation, and letting him take charge of it. Let God’s kingdom rule our lives. Let his power drive us and let his Spirit lead us to full knowledge of him. Mary has shown us how this is done: when we do not understand what is happening, we treasure all these words and ponder them in our hearts.
Lord, as we enter a new year, enter my life. I give you permission to do with my life as you will because it is then that you can do great things for me. Lead me to know you. Mary, Mother of God, lead me to Jesus.

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