Solemnity of Mary Mother of God 2017

     Standing at the doorway of 2017, today’s Mass gives us the opportunity to pause at the end of a busy holiday season and look back over 2016 to give thanks to God for all of the blessings He has bestowed upon us in the past year. As we look back over the past year I hope we recognize that God was with us every step of the way. Whether 2016 was a year of great blessing or a year of great tragedy, I think we all should be reminded that, “no one is strong enough to travel the entire path of salvation unaided. All have sinned, all need the Lord’s mercy, the love of the crucified one.”[1]

     Last week, we celebrated the beginning of that necessary story of salvation, when over 2000 years ago God stooped to our level to become one of us on that first Christmas. Last Sunday we celebrated the birth of our savior, who is the only person who can justly atone for our sins because He is truly God and truly man. You see as God, Jesus has the power to take away sins and as man Jesus can justly offer Himself in atonement for the sins of mankind. Being both fully God and fully man Jesus has the power to bridge the divide that sin wedges between God and humanity.

     Those of us who know the Christmas story cannot overlook the role that Jesus’ mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary plays in our salvation. St. Paul reminds us in today’s 2nd reading that Jesus, the Son of God, was “born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”[2] As the mother of Jesus, Mary is the linchpin, which unites us to our salvation. With Christmas still fresh in our minds, it is only appropriate that as we start a new year we also pause to honor our Blessed Mother, under her title of, Mary the Mother of God.

     While often non-Catholics accuse our Marian Piety of being an attempt to worship the Blessed Virgin, the reality is this feast worships only our Lord, while honoring her who brought our savior into the world.  After all “Mary is one of the human beings who in an altogether special way belong to the name of God, so much so, in fact, that we cannot praise him rightly if we leave her out of the account.”[3] From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin has been honored under the title of Mother of God, because in honoring her under her proper title, we honor not only her, but we recall the truth that Jesus is both fully God and fully man.

     This title of Mary, the Mother of God, which dates to the mid 200’s, must be true, because if Jesus Christ is God, how can our Blessed Mother who gave birth to Him not be the mother of God. And if she is the mother of God, does she then not have a special role worthy of praise? Is she then not a mother whom we should turn to and ask to intercede for us? After all, what son would not listen to the request of His own mother?

     My friends if we believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man, we cannot be troubled with the virgin birth for “he who believes our Lord is true God and true man is never troubled with the Virgin birth,”[4] because “throughout all history, the Blessed Mother has been the link between two contraries: the eternal punishment of hell for sinners and the universal unlimited redemption of her Divine Son.”[5]

     Come then, let us turn to the mother of our savior, the Mother of God and beg her to intercede for us, trusting that “anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help, or sought her intercession was left unaided.”[6] And so as we look to a new year with Christmas still fresh in our minds, we enter the new year with confidence, knowing that God who has become one of us left His mother to be our mother, and like any good mother she will be their for the joys and struggles of this year if only we call on her in our prayer.

[1] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Jesus of Nazareth Part II. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008. Pg 151 – 152.

[2] Gal 4: 4-5

[3] Joseph Cardinal  Ratzinger  and Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Mary the Church at the Source. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005. Pg 63.

[4] Fulton Sheen. The World’s First Love Mary, Mother of God. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011. Pg 65.

[5] Fulton Sheen. The World’s First Love Mary, Mother of God. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011. Pgs 233-234.

[6] Memorare Prayer

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