Vol: 45, No.8 MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD ( B) January 01 2018  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE
Today is 1st January, the first day of the New Year. We enter the New Year with hope and aspirations for a better future. Naturally we want to do better than we did in the year that just passed by. But, can we make the New Year better than the last year? The answer is “Yes” if we begin the New Year under the patronage and protection of Mary, the Mother of God. In this context we are reminded of the prayer of St Bernard: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother, to thee I come, before thee I stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate! despise not my petitions, but, in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
Having prayed to our heavenly mother and received the assurance that this New Year will be a year of special grace for us, let us move on to explore a few features of the feast we are celebrating.
The title of Mother of God is derived from Catholic teaching on the incarnation of the Word. Mary conceived and brought forth, in His human nature the One Who is God from all eternity. Mary is Mother of God because from her own flesh she gives to the Word a human nature like hers. Mary is the Mother of the Saviour in a sense much more profound than when we say that queen Elizabeth of England is the mother of Prince Charles. Mary conceived Jesus in her womb by the
 
power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit alone is capable of realizing such a wonder in her.
The message of Christmas is carried on to today’s celebration. The shepherds act upon the message they receive from the angel and go to find Jesus in the manger. At their visit to the manger, the shepherds find everything just as the angel has told them. The shepherd’s visit, therefore, is a moment of fulfilment, manifestation, and the beginning of the salvation we receive through Christ.
The gospel of today also helps us to focus on Mary as the Mother of God. The reading tells us a number of things about Mary as a mother. First, Mary is described as a reflective person for she keeps the visit of the shepherds in her heart. Second, we are reminded of how obedient Mary is to God when she names the baby “Jesus” as directed by the angel at the annunciation. Third, Mary and Joseph faithfully observe their Jewish tradition by having Jesus circumcised. Mary’s faithfulness to God is evident in all these three things. Her reflection upon these events in her life indicates that she is a person of prayer.
Because of Mary’s faithfulness to God, she is able to receive the gift of God’s Son and accept her role in God’s plan of salvation. By doing so, she shows us the path of discipleship, and she is also called Mother of the Church. Our call to discipleship also includes these aspects. Discipleship involves prayer and reflection on the events of our lives that we might see God’s presence and work in our lives. It also means obedience to God and God’s will.
—AK
Happy New year
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