Mary, The Mother of God
WITH TRUST AND HOPE
At the Council of Ephesus in the year 431, the mother of Jesus was solemnly proclaimed as “Mother of God” or
(“God-bearer”), acknowledging the Godhead or divinity of her son Jesus Christ. Under this noble title, the most ancient of her titles, Mary is honored by Christians around the world.
Today’s solemnity invites us to place our hopes and our plans for the new year 2021 under Mary’s motherly care. We can entrust to her our personal concerns as well as those of our Church and our world at this moment in history.
In spite of the daunting challenges before us, we enter this new year with a sense of wonder and trust. Somehow, we can share in the acclamation of Saint Peter at the transfiguration of Christ when he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”
Wonder and reverence were typical of Mary, our mother in the faith. As Elizabeth said at the time of the visitation, blessed is she who believed that the promises of God would be fulfilled. But Mary was also a flesh-and-blood woman of her times - hard-working, devoted, eager to be of service to others, faithful in prayer, and formed in the covenant of her people Israel.
The real Mary from Nazareth knew no riches or privilege in her lifetime. No one has ever lived and died in greater simplicity than she, marked by a strong and simple faith.
As Mary saw herself, she was the handmaid of the Lord, trusting in Providence and sustained by the goodness of God. Indeed, she stands out among the Lord’s
, the humble hearts who confidently trust that God holds everything in his hands.
In the first four Christian centuries, Church writers emphasized Mary’s faith rather than her divine motherhood. As Saint Augustine of Hippo expresses it, “Mary conceived Jesus in her heart before conceiving him in her womb.” Also venerated as Mother of Good Counsel, our Lady can be our guide and counselor in the area of faith. She wants to beget faith in us, to be our mother in faith. This is why, in the Gospel of Saint John, Mary is present at the beginning and the end of Christ’s public life.
John is the only one to record Mary’s presence at Calvary, in the terse statement, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother” (John 19:25). When all the miracles of Jesus seemed a delusion to many, his mother stood there faithful to him to his last breath, still believing in God’s power to save.
Her faith did not need astounding miracles but rested on childlike trust in the mysterious ways of God, the eternal Father. Nor did her role as mother cease then, for, in his dying hour, Jesus gave it a new focus when he said to John, “Behold your mother.”
The mother of Jesus will henceforth be the mother of all his disciples, sharing with us her strong and simple faith.
Let us close with a prayer:
God, thank you for helping us to make it through this difficult year. Thank you that you have carried us through the uncertainty of deep waters, through the flames of trials, and through the pain of hard losses. We are constantly aware of how much we need you, your grace, your strength, your power working through even the toughest days.
Help us to keep our focus first on you this season. Please forgive us for giving too much time and attention to other things, for looking to other people before coming to you first. Help us to reflect again, on what Christmas is really all about. Thank you that you came to give new life, peace, hope, and joy. Thank you that your power is made perfect in our weakness.
Help us to remember that the gift of Christ, Emmanuel, is our greatest treasure, not just at Christmas, but for the whole year through. Fill us with your joy and the peace of your Spirit. Direct our hearts and minds toward you. Thank you for your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of brokenness, you are with us. For you never leave us. Thank you for your daily powerful presence in our lives, that we can be assured your heart is toward us, your eyes are over us, and your ears are open to our prayers. Thank you for our mother Mary, the woman of strong faith, enduring hope, constant love. Amen.
Cerremos con una oración:
Dios, gracias por ayudarnos a superar este año difícil. Gracias por habernos llevado a través de la incertidumbre de aguas profundas, a través de las llamas de las pruebas y a través del dolor de las duras pérdidas. Estamos constantemente conscientes de cuánto te necesitamos, tu gracia, tu fuerza, tu poder trabajando incluso en los días más difíciles.
Ayúdanos a mantener nuestro enfoque en ti esta temporada. Por favor, perdónanos por dedicar demasiado tiempo y atención a otras cosas, por mirar a otras personas antes de acudir a ti primero. Ayúdanos a reflexionar de nuevo sobre lo que realmente es la Navidad. Gracias por venir a dar nueva vida, paz, esperanza y alegría. Gracias porque tu poder se perfecciona en nuestra debilidad.
Ayúdanos a recordar que el regalo de Cristo, Emmanuel, es nuestro mayor tesoro, no solo en Navidad, sino durante todo el año. Llénanos de tu gozo y de la paz de tu Espíritu. Dirija nuestros corazones y mentes hacia usted. Gracias por recordarnos que tanto en las temporadas de celebración como en las temporadas de quebrantamiento, estás con nosotros. Porque nunca nos dejas. Gracias por su poderosa presencia diaria en nuestras vidas, que podemos estar seguros de que su corazón está hacia nosotros, sus ojos están sobre nosotros y sus oídos están abiertos a nuestras oraciones. Gracias por nuestra madre María, la mujer de fe fuerte, esperanza perdurable, amor constante. Amén.
God bless our parishioners. friends, and visitors with peace, joy, strength, and grace in the new year!
Fr. Anthony Schueller, SSS, Pastor
Fr. Joseph Thai Tran, SSS, Patochial Vicar
Deacon Vincent Scheel, Deacon
Anthony Schueller SSS
on Friday, January 1 at 1:02PM