Mary of Nazareth – Mother in Faith
The first day of each new calendar year we celebrate the wonder of God’s blessing in becoming one of us. Without the consent of a young woman, barely past girlhood, it could never have happened. This is not a case of a deity forcing himself on a woman or seducing her. The child is not a demi-god. This child, born of this young woman, is fully human and fully divine. It’s a mystery that we can’t explain and it took many years before it was established as the formal, uncontested, belief of the community of Followers of the Way, the Christians.
We hear the blessing the Lord God instructed Moses to bestow on the people. (Num 6:22-27) “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” And how does God do that? In the fullness of time, God comes among us as a child, his very own Word made flesh, a son. And because of this great gift, we too share in the reality of being children of God. (Gal 4:4-7)
Was this just for the rich and powerful of the world? No. It was first announced to a teenage girl, who agreed to become the mother of this very special child, then to the man who would be his earthly parent, and when he was born, to shepherds. Shepherds were not admired or particularly respected folks. They lived with their sheep. But they heard the words of the angels and believed. They visited the child and his parents, then returned praising God for this gift. (Lk 2:16-21)
The Gospel today concludes with the statement that on the eighth day after his birth, the child was circumcised (making him a member of the Jewish community) and given the name Jesus, as instructed by the angel before his birth.
“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
We too are called to reflect on them. Mary became Mother of God. She wasn’t protected from the hardships of daily life. She didn’t always understand what was happening. She certainly didn’t expect this baby to grow up to become an itinerant preacher and miracle worker. Her heart was broken as she saw him die. Yet from the beginning, she agreed to be his mother, raising and loving him, reflecting on it all in her heart.
We honor her today and imitate her faith in our daily lives.