Greetings on this the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Readings: NM 6:22-27; Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8; GAL 4:4-7; LK 2:16-21
Christmas Day, Octave of Christmas and Christmas Season.
The Octave of Christmas (the eight day celebration) comes to its completion today with the honoring Mary, Mother of God, Theotokos.
The wonder of the Virgin Mary deserves our attention as all new Mothers know sometimes the Mom is forgotten for the birth of the baby. There is no baby without the Mom and her life-giving maternity.
Even more so we contemplate the ever virginity of Mary as we do the not consumed, burning bush found in the book of Exodus:
There the angel of the LORD appeared to him as fire flaming out of a bush. When he looked, although the bush was on fire, it was not being consumed. So Moses decided, “I must turn aside to look at this remarkable sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look, God called out to him from the bush: Moses! Moses! He answered, “Here I am.” God said: Do not come near! Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,* he continued, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Of course in Mary’s case we are very much asked to look upon the scene of Mother and Child and believe.
A marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of a virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity (Evening Prayer I/Liturgy of the Eucharist).
The Christmas Season continues through two additional celebrations. The Epiphany (this Sunday the Magi come) and the Baptism of the Lord (initiation of his earthly mission) which brings the Christmas season to conclusion.
So keep saying Merry Christmas until then!
Throughout the Christmas Octave we meet so many who knew Jesus as infant. We continue the introductions throughout the season but the Octave focused on mostly chapter 2 Gospel of Luke and the first seven:
- Holy Innocents, first infant Martyrs
- Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, Joseph)
- Saint Stephen, first Christian Martyr
- Magi (Gospel of Matthew chapter 2 – this on the Epiphany Sunday)
Every Pediatrician has a large bottle of hand moisturizer in every exam room. When asked why they will tell you that new Mom’s and Dad’s bring their infant to be examined but hoover over the child in a personal protective shield. So the Dr has them hold out their hands and gives each a generous squirt of hand lotion to work in and to step back so the Dr can examine the baby.
Mary Bearer and Sharer
One of the most important things to remember about Mary is her complete and instantaneous sharing of her Son with family, relations, community, and the whole world. She adored her baby. She let and encouraged others to Adore him too as we do today!
Simeon told Mary – “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce)* so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Generally we think of the Cross as the fullest meaning of this statement. But I draw your attention to Mary’s immediate sharing and allowing herself to be pierced for the many.
Simenon held Jesus. Anna held Jesus, the Shepherds held Jesus and the Magi held Jesus (at least I imagine it thusly).
The Virgin Mary shared her prized possession since the first moments of the Annunciation and her visit to her cousin Elizabeth.
Even beyond today’s reading Jesus lost in the Temple is also the story of how Mary trusted Jesus to be among the clan traveling (Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances).
May Jesus pierce our hearts as like Mary’s. May we share Jesus, our prized possession, as did and does Mary.
Peace be with you,
Happy New Year 2021!