MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD, 2017

Mary, kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Simple words but profound. Mary is not a professor or a scientist or a philosopher. She is a simple woman who has just given birth. And with a mother’s heart she ponders on the wonder, the beauty, the awesome reality she has experienced: she gave birth to a child and they names him Jesus because this child will save us all from our sins. Mary is the chosen one who can treasure and guard in her heart the passage of God into the life of his Chosen people. Deep within her she could feel “the heartbeat of her Son and that in turn taught her, throughout her life to discover God’s heartbeat in history. She learned how to be a mother and that process she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son! With Mary, Jesus, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise. With Mary he discovered himself as a Son of God’s faithful people”.

Mary does not say much. She accepts God’s invitation and she lives it our faithfully, from the annunciation to the birth of her son; from their life in Nazareth to his life as a wandering prophet, teaching and healing men and women of every description; from standing by the cross to standing with his first disciples when they received the Holy Spirit. She is the hinge of heaven, bringing God to earth and bringing his disciples to receive what she had received: the gift of the Spirit that makes us the Church of her son, a community of unity and charity.

“She was able to watch over the beginnings of that first Christian community and in this way she learned to be the mother of a multitude” a role she has from that moment to today and will always heave till the end of time. “Mary gave us a mother’s warmth, the maternal warmth that lives in the depth of the Church, the revolution of tenderness which God gave us when he gave us Jesus through the cooperation of Mary. Where there us a mother, there is tenderness. Mary shows us that humility and tenderness are not the virtues of the weak but of the strong.

This day as we begin a New Year, we celebrate the most ancient Feast day of the Virgin Mother of God. By so doing we proclaim to one another and to the whole world: “we are not orphans. We are a people with a mother and she does now and always will accompany us with a mother’s example, a mother’s support, a mother’s understanding and a mother’s love.

But what of those other persons who encounter her and her son that Christmas night? The shepherds? They too are humble and simple; not stupid nor ignorant. They have the familiar wisdom of those who know themselves and their life’s trajectory. But now something has happened. Something that makes them too wonder with a curiosity that draws them to the manger. They made haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in a manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds!

Do we count ourselves among that never ending generation after the generation who are once again amazed and transformed by what had been told the shepherds and what has been told every year to us, all of us, our families, our friends, old and young, rich and poor, suffering or rejoicing? Have we too learned from Mary and her son that violence is not the way of God, that tenderness is the mark of God’s love a tenderness we have learned from Mary who loves her adopted sons and daughters just as she loved the fruit of her womb? If she is our mother, the Mother of the Church, then we too are not orphans but recipients of her human love that is enriched by His divine life within us.

Just as this love has changed our lives so does it offer us a choice to be made again at the beginning of this New Year. In a society that has been shouting at one another, in communities that experience too much hatred and division, in the lives of people who are caught up in drugs and opoids, in division and “the spiritual orphan hood which, “like a cancer, eats away and debases our souls”, we are called never to forget who we are called to be and what divine “family name” we have. As members of that family we have a responsibility not to debase others. Even more we have been called to invite others to move beyond the things that alienate us, things that separate us whether it is the technologies that make virtual relations more important than personal ones, or the self absorption that cauterizes our hearts, making us lose the capacity for tenderness and wonder, for pity and compassion”.

Instead we can renew our sense of belonging to Christ, to His Church and to one another. Mary invites to experience once again what she has shown us and gives us: what it means to be children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, friends and believers. We do this by never overlooking the importance of playing, of singing, of a smile, of rest, of gratitude.

My friends, when the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman…so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out Abba, Father. So you are no longer a slave but an heir, through God!

SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, WE ARE AS WELL THE ADOPTED SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF MARY! CELEBRATING THE FEAST OF THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD MAKES US SMILE FOR WE ARE NOT ORPHANS, WE ARE THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OFHER SON AND CO HEIRS WITH HIM TO LIFE HE GAVE US AND THE LOVE BY WHICH HE SETS US FREE. AMEN!