Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God



            Four priests were discussing the various translations of the Bible.  One liked the King James version best because of its Old English wording.  Another liked the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible best because of its fidelity to the Hebrew and Greek originals.   The third priest liked the Good News Bible because of its accessibility to the younger generation.   But the fourth priest remained silent.   When the other three asked him to express his opinion on which Bible version was the best, the priest finally replied, “I like my mother’s translation the best.  She translated it into life, and it was the most convincing translation of God’s Word that I ever saw.”

Yes,  mothers are our first real experience of God and God’s good news!   Their love and care for us, as we grow up, demonstrate the gratuitous nature of God’s many blessings and how precious our lives are, not only to our mothers, but to God Himself who gifted us to them for our brief sojourn on earth.   That’s why the best witness parents can give to their children is to embody the Good News themselves!  –To live its joy and walk in its peace!   —To lift up its hope and promise of salvation for all to see! —To demonstrate mercy, love, and forgiveness and to pour out compassion on those who need it most!   —To pray for justice and to envision the Kingdom of God on earth! —To be respectful of differences, while at the same time, challenging us to live up to our God-given potentials!   –To care for the less fortunate and to be courageous in reaching out, in love, to the hurting and disaffected of our world.

My brothers and sisters, that is the miraculous vocation of parents, and particularly, of mothers that we celebrate tonight (today)! When we’re blessed with parents who lovingly, generously, and thoughtfully translate Gospel values and priorities with their own lives, it becomes much easier for us, their children, to embrace the faith and to live by its standards of holiness.   Wise parents live this way because they know intuitively that the Gospel can never be forced upon anyone, but must sing its way freely and joyfully into the soul!

I’d venture to say, that many of us have had parents who strove to give us that kind of example throughout our childhood and into adulthood.  But if we’re not one of the lucky ones, we need not fret, for we’ve all been given a heavenly mother who continuously provides us an example, par excellence, of what the Gospel lived-out fully looks like,  a mother who considers us all to be her very own children as well!  And that mother is Mary!

By accepting her unique vocation to be the Mother of God, Mary became the model for all mothers who have ever lived after her, and all mothers yet to be!   Her fullness of grace, made possible by God’s prevenient grace from the moment of her Immaculate Conception,  made her worthy of being called, not just the Mother of Christ, but the Mother of God, for Jesus, her Son embodied both a human and a divine nature.

By entering the human race, Jesus, her Son, taught us how to become Kingdom-bound!   By his life on earth, he revealed God’s love and compassion for all people, but most especially for those who have been left by the wayside, judged and condemned and considered to be expendable by human standards.   By dying on the cross, Jesus became our Holy Redeemer and took upon himself our sins!  By rising to new life, Jesus became our Lord and Savior, giving us undaunting hope in God’s promises!

By presenting his mother to the Beloved Disciple as he hung on the cross,  Jesus became our Brother as well!   As spiritual siblings of Jesus then, Mary considers us her children too!   So when we have doubts, uncertainties, or lack direction and focus in life, we can turn to our Mother, Mary, for guidance, direction, and solace in life.  We can turn to Mary, our Mother, for courage in doing the difficult, and fidelity in living up to the callings our Lord has bestowed upon us.

The important thing to remember, though, is that we need to ask!   Mary can’t read our minds!   She doesn’t know what we will accept from her.

She completely respects our freedom to refuse her counsel and her graced intercession at the throne of God.   She wants to help us, as our mother, but we first need to approach her in humility and trust in her powerful intercession.

Sometimes, what keeps us from asking for Mary’s help is that we have a skewed notion of who Mary is and what she accomplished in her lifetime on earth.   We may be tempted to think of Mary, at times, in overly pietistic terms—as a passive woman— who prayed a lot but said very little.   Because of her Assumption into Heaven, some may think too, that Mary’s got better things to do, enjoying and celebrating the beatific vision of God, somewhere far removed from the harsh realities of the pandemic in our world today, surrounded by a choir of angels and saints.

Yet Mary was far mor than this simplistic portrait of her conveys. She was courageous in accepting her divine calling as a young teen!    Would we have been so willing, to say ‘Yes’ to an angel’s invitation to have our lives totally turned upside down at a moment’s notice, as she was?

And Mary went even further.   Far from taking it easy, Mary was ready and willing to serve others in distress when there was an expressed need, such as when she hears that Elizabeth, her cousin, had also received a miraculous intervention of God and was pregnant.

We know too, from the Gospel account of the Wedding at Cana, that Mary boldly approaches her Son to do the miraculous, when she discovers that there was no more wine left for the guests in the stone water jars.

Mary also never avoided the sometimes difficult challenges of being a parent, like having to travel to Bethlehem in her ninth month, in order to register for the census.   As a young mother, Mary also was forced to become a refugee and had to flee to Egypt to avoid the jealousies of Herod who saw the birth of Jesus as a threat to his imperial power.

Later on, when Jesus is twelve, Mary and Joseph lose Jesus in Jerusalem and have to go back without their caravan to find him.

As the years passed,  Mary learned how to let go of her Son, so that he might complete his saving mission on earth, even if that mission meant that his human life would be put in jeopardy by very proclamation of His Good News.   Ultimately, Mary proved how dedicated a mother she was, as she never leaves her Son’s side as he suffers and dies on the cross, a most shameful and painful death, being abandoned by all of his twelve apostles.   Mary was willing to endure it all, though, just so that God’s promise of salvation for the human race might be accomplished through the sacrifice of her beloved Son.

Far from a passive woman, Mary demonstrated, time and time again, just how loving, assertive, and committed a mother she would be to the Son of God, to the end!   If Mary had such dedication to her Son, Jesus, there’s no doubt that she certainly would not hesitate to demonstrate that same sore of steadfast love and resolve toward us.   Let us then find inspiration in Mary’s example and resolve in this new year, to be as dedicated to fulfilling her Son’s will on earth, as she was!   And  let us also resolve, to draw ever nearer to our Most Holy Mother and to approach her in our joys and in our struggles, in our temptations as well as in our victories, and ask her to help mold us, more and more, into the image of her Son whose birth into the world, not only was the beginning of our salvation, but made us worthy to be called children of God and children of Mary!



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