01 Jan – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; World Day of Prayer for Peace
Mary, Through Whom The World Would Be Blessed
We too bless God for Mary, who bore for us the Child she named Jesus the Saviour.
– the Sunday Missal
The title “Mother of God” for Our Lady was first used by St. Elizabeth at the Visitation, “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?” (Luke 1:43). The title is found in early liturgical prayers, according to St. Cyril (5th century), and this term Theotokos (bearing God) was perfectly familiar to the ancient fathers. It was employed by St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 90) and St. Anthanasius (c. 373), and finally sanctioned at the Council of Ephesus (431).
– Patron Saint Index
The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “Say this to Aaron and his sons: ‘This is how you are to bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.’
This is how they are to call down my name on the sons of Israel, and I will bless them.”
When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable them to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit that cries, “Abba, Father”, and it is this that makes you a son, you are not a slave anymore; and if God has made you son, then he has made you heir.”
The shepherds hurried away to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherd had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.
When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.
Moses was a man who was blessed with many opportunities to see God face-to-face. He frequently conversed with the Lord in His presence on Mt Sinai at a time when seeing God face-to-face meant death for those who saw Him. This golden opportunity to see the face of God and live was not to be kept to Moses alone, but to be shared among all of God’s people, which is why the Lord gave Moses the blessing to be given to His people.
Indeed God did uncover His face when He became Man. He was born of Mary and became Man. Mary was thus the representative of all humankind, to be the first human to receive the Lord and bring Him into the world, to be the first of God’s people to see God’s human face.
Today, on the first day of the new year 2008, we honour Mary, the Mother of God. The reason we celebrate this solemnity on the eighth day of Christmas is because the title “Mother of God” strikes at the very heart of Christmas – God-is-with-us. He is so with us that the divine Word cannot be divided from our humanity.
No Christian can deny that Mary is the Mother of God unless he also denies that Jesus is God, for Jesus is both man and God. To say that Mary is not the Mother of God is to say that Jesus is not God, and that Jesus never united Himself completely with our humanity. Since we are brothers and sisters with Jesus through our shared humanity, Mary is our Mother as well, though not in the “Theokotos” sense.
The term “Theokotos” which is usually translated to “Mother of God” does not mean that Mary is the Mother of God the Father. It explicitly refers to physical childbearing. The term “Mother of God” may mean a family relationship, but not one that is physical. The Greek term “Theokotos”, however, makes it clear that this relationship between Mary and Jesus is that Mary physically gave birth to Jesus, that is, she is Jesus’ biological mother.
It is a pity that many of us have a personal relationship with Jesus, but do not have one with Mary. Besides Jesus himself, there is no other human that is placed as high in esteem and power as Mary, for Jesus received her into Heaven at the moment of her death, and crowned her the Queen of Heaven, and the Queen of Angels. Just as the Lord has power over the angels who serve Him, so too does Mary command the angels. All through her life she did everything according to the Lord’s will, and now in Heaven, she continues to do so.
It would be most wonderful for us if we could establish a relationship with Mary, even though she is not our biological mother. The reason is not so much because Mary is the Queen of Heaven and the Queen of the Angels, but because Mary is so close to Jesus that their hearts and wills are one. If we could learn to become like Mary, who is fully human, we could be as close to Jesus as well so much so that we truly become another Christ in the world.
Let us pause a few moments and ponder on the significance of our understanding of Mary, the Mother of God and what this has to do with the message of Christmas.
Dear Mary, we pray that all Christians may come to accept you as truly the Mother of God, and that Jesus is true God and true Man. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: St. Cyril, who in 431 at the Council of Ephesus, met Nestorius’ claim that Mary is not the mother of God.
Wed, 02 Jan – 1 John 2:22-28; John 1:19-28; Memorial for Sts. Basil the Great and Nazianzen, bishops, doctors
Thu, 03 Jan – 1 John 2:29 – 3:6; John 1:29-34; Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus
Fri, 04 Jan – 1 John 3:7-10; John 1:35-42
Sat, 05 Jan – 1 John 3:11-21; John 1:43-51
Sun, 06 Jan – Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12; Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord
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