Homily Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God January 1, 2019

The image of Blessed Mary that comes to us from these pages of Scripture is the image of a person of great calm and wisdom, one who takes the time to reflect upon all that is going on around her. Mary didn’t live in the fast-paced world that surrounds us on all sides today. We not only may drive 90 MPH at times (I’m sure you don’t do that!), but there’s also the real possibility of living at 90 MPH too. Just think about preparing for Christmas in whatever ways we prepared for Jesus’ birth; buying food, shopping for gifts, work, trying to fit a visit into our ramped-up schedules. Heaven forbid the funeral of a loved one should happen around Christmas-time. It’s good to stay busy, but it’s also good, if not better, to be calm and reflective like Mary. Mary, the Mother of God, is a feast that was drawn from the early Church Council of Ephesus in the year 431. The title Mother of God was a title that needed to be emphasized, and determined by the Church Fathers to be infallible, meaning divinely revealed. The reason for the emphasis being that some purported Christians were labeling Mary the mother of Jesus, and not the Mother of God. The mother of Jesus title emphasizes the humanity of Christ while not recognizing his divine nature. The Mother of God title points to both Jesus’ human and divine nature, being the truth of who he is. So, the title Mother of God was a title given to Mary in the 5th century, not because of her own actions, but because of who her Son is. All things Mary point to Jesus, and the whole truth of who her Son is, and not a partial truth. That’s the quick theology behind the title Mother of God. But from a spiritual angle, an angle that serves us in our religious lives, Mary as Mother of God is a title that exudes the image of calm and wisdom. The image of taking the time to be reflective concerning all the things that were being spoken about her Son. Granted, Mary was in a stable and had just given birth, and probably didn’t feel like getting up and doing some jumping jacks, or walking south to Egypt. She was resting in the manger, which is what mothers try to do after giving birth. So, she wasn’t going anywhere soon. But Mary as Mother of the Most High was not forced into the calm and wisdom we see on display in this holy scene. She wasn’t forced into reflecting on all that was said about her Son. They were choices Mary made in the moment. And the Mary, Mother of God title is the most proper title that is consistent with the visitation of the shepherds. Because the shepherds made known the message that had been told them about this child. The message, spoken by an angel from heaven, passed on to Mary by the shepherds that said, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.” Christ meaning Messiah, Lord meaning God. The title Mother of God is the most proper title for Mary. It fits perfectly into this scene of Jesus’ birth, revealing his human and divine natures. Mother of God is a title to rejoice in. But, we also rejoice in something that speaks to us; that in the midst of some amazing events, Mary remained calm, possessing the great virtue of wisdom, taking time to reflect upon the events of her life. This is how we too get in touch with the Lord, draw close to him, and remain his handmaid, in likeness of the Mother of God.