31 December 2013


Solemnity of Mary, The Mother of God
Lk 2:16-21 (Num 6:22-27 / Ps 67 / Gal 4:4-7)

At the beginning the Old Testament is a story about an empty womb.  Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren.  She was not only past the age of conceiving, she was also not supposed to conceive at all!  Thus, it is not surprising that hers was an empty womb.

But Sarah conceived!  She and her husband, Abraham, trusted God’s word.  God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the heavens and the sands on the seashore.  Unbelievable, right?  But he and Sarah believed nonetheless.  Their faith in God formed their hope that they would be parents someday.

At the beginning of another year, are we empty or are we filled up?  Why are we empty?  What are we filled up with?

In the first Mass of every new year, the first reading is about God blessing His People.  From the Book of Numbers, we read the prayer of blessing that God Himself, through Moses, taught Aaron and his sons: “The Lord bless you and keep you!  The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”  The lector does not only read the reading to us; God blesses us with the reading!

The year begins with God’s blessing.  With the New Year is a renewal of God’s blessing upon us, a blessing that shall see us through the entire year.  Bless God by thanking Him.  Thank God by using His blessing.

The beginning of a person may appear to be empty, but God’s goodness changes it, transforms it, fills it, and makes it overflowing with graces.  And though often, it is unbelievable, the impossible becomes possible.  “For,” as the angel said, “nothing is impossible to God.”

At the beginning of a new year is another story of an empty womb.  She wasn’t old, she wasn’t barren.  She was a virgin.  And we declare that she still is!  For she conceived not by the usual human act but by the power of God’s Spirit.  Thus, the child she bore was the Son of God.  Her womb was also supposed to be empty.  But her womb was also filled up with God.  “For nothing,” again, the angel told her, “is impossible to God.”  Her name was Mary.  Today, we venerate her divine motherhood as we worship God who, for our sake, transformed her virginity into maternity.

As the Christmas octave ends, our thoughts turn to the other celebrant of the season: Mary, the Mother of Jesus.  When Jesus was born, Mary became a mother.

A woman is born into motherhood when she gives birth.  As a baby is born so also is a mother born.  The birthday of the one who is delivered is likewise the birthday of the one who delivered.  On the day her child is born, a woman celebrates two birthdays: her child’s and her motherhood.  Thus, Mary’s motherhood was born as she gave birth to Jesus.  On Christmas Day, we worshipped the newborn King.  Today, we venerate His mother.

Mary’s motherhood is special because it is a divine motherhood.  Because Jesus is God, Mary is the mother of God.  Title “Mother of God” does not in any way mean that Jesus received His divinity from Mary, but that He who was born of Mary is both human and divine.  It was Mary who received divine motherhood from Jesus, not Jesus who received divine sonship from Mary.

Mary’s motherhood is special also because it is a prophetic motherhood.  Her motherhood is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy: “the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Is 7:14).  Even in the Garden of Eden, God already had Mary in mind.  In Gen 3:15, God declared to the serpent, “…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers….”  And in the second reading today, the Apostle Paul reminds us, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman….”  That woman is Mary.

Mary’s motherhood is also an ecclesial motherhood.  She is the mother of the Church, the Body of Christ.  Certainly, she who is the mother of the head is also the mother of the body.  Jesus Christ is Head of His Body, the Church.  Because we are the Church, the Body of Christ, Mary is our mother too.  She who became the mother of the Redeemer in Bethlehem eventually became the mother of the redeemed at Calvary.

We do not begin the year empty.  We are blest by God, we are given a mother, and, again in the second reading St. Paul tells us, we are given the Spirit of God’s Son.  We begin with God’s blessing, God’s mother, and God’s Spirit.  No one begins the year empty handed.  The truth is we all begin the year overflowing with grace.  No one begins life empty.  We all begin life funded by God.  The love of God funds us with a blessing, with a mother, and with the very Spirit of His Son, Jesus, by whom we become His sons and daughters and, hence, heirs of His kingdom.  May we not waste the love that God funds us with.

We never begin empty.  We are always graced.  Let us therefore be graces to all.  And where we find emptiness, let us fill it up with the grace we first received from God.  No one needs to go through an empty life.  No one should go through life empty.  Not only this year but throughout our life, let us share with others God’s blessing, God’s mother, and God’s Spirit.


At 2:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”

Happy New Year, Fr. Bob...and thank you for your weekly "Crumbs." Looking forward for more spiritual guidance from you.


At 10:13 PM , Blogger Fr. Bobby said...

Happy New Year, too, Emelie! Thank you for the greetings and for reflecting with me through the CRUMBS. God bless you always! +


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