Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

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

A Jewish hospice nurse once told a priest that she was interested in becoming Catholic.  The priest told her to get in touch with the RCIA director.  Then he told the director to expect her call.  The director, who had many years of experience, responded doubtfully.   The director said that he had spoken with many people who expressed interest in Catholicism.  But, he added, relatively few come for instructions.   A similar “interested but” group appears in today’s gospel.

The passage tells of the shepherds sharing what they have heard and seen of Jesus with others.  The people to whom they speak are said to be “amazed.” But that is all.  Evidently they do not investigate themselves much less give praise to God.  Like the seed that fell on rocky ground in Jesus’ parable, they fall away when effort is demanded of them.  If the word of God is to bear fruit, it must be reflected upon in the heart.  This is exactly what Mary does in the gospel. 

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.  The title really says more about Jesus than it does bout Mary.  It is meant to express our belief that Jesus, the human son of Mary, has a divine nature as well.  Because the divine nature is present along with the human, Mary is said to be the “Mother of God.”

Although we want to honor Mary as Jesus’ mother, we should honor her more for reflecting on all that happens to her son.  She shows herself to be his disciple.  Of course, she will have to follow Jesus carrying her own cross which apparently she does.  Let us do the same: meditate upon the gospel in our hearts and take up our cross after him.