Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mary, the Holy Mother of God, solemnity

(Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21)

Scientists have reported significant medical benefits of infant circumcision. The procedure is said to reduce the risk of a large range of pathologies from the HIV virus to cervical cancer in sexual partners. These findings corroborate what was considered at the root of the practice in ancient Israel: the male foreskin is a center of impurity. The gospel today shows Jesus undergoing circumcision, but its emphasis is quite different than preventing disease.

Mary and Joseph have Jesus circumcised because they are pious Jews intent on obeying the prescriptions of Jewish law. The gospel of Luke portrays Mary as particularly intent on fulfilling the word of God. The angel Gabriel told her that the name of the child was to be named “Jesus” – a mandate that is duly carried out here. Mary also keeps all the happenings of Jesus birth in her heart because she knows that they are ordered by God’s command.

In Mary we have a grand intercessor and model. Everyone should feel free to bring his or her needs to this gentle woman. More than that, we should imitate throughout the new year both her contemplative spirit for all that occurs in life and her obedience to God’s commands.