Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
(Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21)
Scientists have reported significant medical benefits from 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 at the root of the practice in ancient Israel: the awareness that the male foreskin is a locus of impurity. The gospel today shows Jesus undergoing circumcision, but its concern transcends 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 both a grand intercessor and a model. We should feel free to bring our needs to this woman who sits so close to God. We should also strive to imitate Mary throughout 2015. In these turbulent times we could benefit from both her contemplative spirit and her obedience to God’s commands.