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Saturday, 31 December 2011

SOLEMNITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD: A REFLECTION ON THE READINGS (JAN 1 2012)


In a particular kingdom, there existed this custom of the prince taking a wife before he inherits the throne of the father. After the death of the ruling king, the Prince was faced with the task of choosing a wife before his coronation as the next king. The Prince had to make it open for every young girl in the kingdom to exhibit her qualities and draw his attention. Several young girls started wearing sexy clothes to seduce the Prince but he was not moved.  Some began to wear wonderful hairstyles but the Prince was not moved. Others prepared delicious meals and presented them to the prince but he was not delighted. Every young girl made an attempt in several ways but the Prince was not moved not because he was very difficult to be pleased but because they did not know what exactly he so desired of a woman more so of a wife. Only one woman had a perfect knowledge of this. This woman was like the rest of women in the kingdom, while some valued her, others despised her. She was very dear to the Prince because of her glaring personality, but no one dared to consult her or win the Prince’s heart through her.

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One day, a young lady desirous to have the Prince as a husband came to this woman with an inferior dish containing some poorly prepared food. She requested the woman to help her pass the food to the king. This woman took the food, transferred it into a royal plate, garnished it with the type of vegetables and fishes the Prince likes and presented it to the Prince as a gift from a lady seeking to please him. The king was surprised to discover this girl who could meet his taste and hurriedly married her. This girl was only successful because she went through the Prince’s mother who prepared the way for her and who knew what exactly the prince needed.

Today, we celebrate the motherhood of a woman who knows best how to please God because through her co-operation with the will of God, she became the Virgin Mother of God. The solemnity of Mary, Mother of God reminds us of the great role she played in the history of salvation and the privileges she has. In the first reading, we see the blessings God gave to Aaron and his sons. They were the mediators between God and the people and through them God blessed the people. In Mary we see a mediatrix and through her all nations have been blessed. In the second reading, we see the reconciliation Mary brought through her son, reconciling us to God not just as sons of God but also as heirs to His kingdom.

The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in AD 431 declared Mary Theotokos meaning Mother of God. Today’s date was formerly the feast of Jesus’ circumcision but following the second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI decided to change it to the solemnity of Mary mother of God to honor the role of Mary in the mystery of salvation and at the same time to sing the praises of the unique dignity thus coming to "the Holy Mother...through whom we have been given the gift of the Author of life" (cf. Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, Feb. 2, 1974, no.5). This solemnity of Mary’s motherhood speaks no less about the personhood of Christ. Christ is of both divine and human natures but one person. So when we speak of Mary as the Mother of God, we refer to the Incarnation of Christ as God who was conceived by the Virgin Mary as God and given birth to as God and not to the Godhead of the Father. The title Mother of God is the highest privilege given to her and just as she is the Mother of Jesus, she is also our mother. We explore the close relationship between Jesus and Mary. Just as Christ is the king of peace, Mary is the queen of peace. That is why today we celebrate her motherhood of God is also the world day of peace. As Jesus is the shortest way to the Father, Mary is the shortest way to Jesus. She knows exactly how to please the Son who knows exactly how to please the Father. Jesus is the gate of heaven and Mary is the entrance to the gate. Jesus is the bread of life and Mary is the bakery where this bread is produced. 

Today we are invited to imitate the spirit of Mary – the spirit of collaboration with the will of God. Mary is a testimony of God’s omnipotence. Today’s solemnity is a triumph of grace over nature. The gospel says Mary pondered all these things in her heart. She treasured the Word of God which later took flesh in her womb. It is also an invitation to treasure the Word of God in our hearts and know that with God all things are possible.

As we celebrate the Divine Motherhood of the Virgin Mary, we should ask ourselves how docile we are to the will of God. Do you really appreciate Mary’s Motherhood of God? Do you trust in her powerful intercession and assistance? Do we honour her? No amount of honour will be too much for her because by honouring her, we are glorifying the Son who chose to be borne by her. This should be a period of greater devotion to Mary and a moment of intensified prayer. She is there as the help of Christians only waiting for us to come to Jesus through her. She is ready to help us actualize our dreams just as the Prince’s mother helped the young lady to actualize hers. Are you ready to co-operate with her? Are you ready to make her your own mother? Perhaps a daily recitation of the holy rosary might be a good starting point. The choice is yours.

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