Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
(Number 6:22-27; Gal 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21)
In the gospel today, we see three groups of people receiving the good news of Jesus’ birth. First, the shepherds, who have heard from the angels that a savior is born, act on the message. They go to Bethlehem to see the child who is their Lord and King. They also tell others of what has taken place to fulfill the angelic call to evangelize. Hopefully we are responding in the same ways – giving homage to Jesus, the savior, and telling others of how he has benefitted us.
The second group encountered in the passage is the people said to be “amazed” at what the shepherds tell them. Unfortunately, these hearers of the good news fail to respond in a significant way. Rather, like many witnesses of miracles later in the gospel, they dismiss the good news as only something “interesting.” These resisters represent the millions who celebrate Christmas with tinsel and brightly-wrapped presents but avoid the deeper meaning of the feast.
The third group is really just one person. Mary has already acted decisively on the good news announced to her also by an angel. The passage today says that she reflects in her heart on the events taking place. Thus, Mary becomes the model Christian in whom the word of God has taken firm root and whose fruit is abundant. We find people like Mary taking time daily to reflect on the Word of God and then living out what that Word teaches.