Homily for Mary, Mother of God
January 1, 2014
Last Thursday, Christmas Day, I focused on the miracles that God wants to work in our lives. This Thursday, we consider another miracle, the gift of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother. We may not understand all of the theology. It is, after all, a miracle. We do know, though, that Mary is the mother of the
human nature of Jesus-the Second Person of the Trinity. She is not the mother of his
divine nature, but she is the mother of the
person of Jesus. Therefore, she is the Mother of God. That is what we mean when we say “Holy Mary, Mother of God.”
Mary is not just the Mother of God. Jesus entrusted us to her when, on Calvary, he told St. John to behold his mother. When he told Mary to behold her son, he entrusted us to her. John represented the faithful disciple of the Lord-you and me.
What does it mean to say that Mary is our mother? She is not our biological mother. Well, a woman’s body is built to nurture and nourish a baby, but that nurturing does not end at birth. At that point, a mother finds new ways to nurture that child. Mary, our Mother, nurtures us. She does this by leading us to Jesus her Son who is the bread we need to sustain our spiritual lives.
A mother is always teaching her child. Many of us learned how to walk at our mother’s side. Our mothers did most of the work teaching us how to talk, read, and write. Most of our mothers taught us how to pray. My own mother taught me the Sign of the Cross. Our mothers taught us about God and how much we need Him. Mary teaches us as well. She teaches us how to love sacrificially and unselfishly for God. She does this in union with her Son. Even when it was painful to see how people treated him, Jesus always came first. Simeon told her that a sword would pierce her heart, and it did, especially when she stood under the cross. Nevertheless, she could not turn away from him. She joined him in his sacrifice. In doing so, Mary taught us not to turn away from difficulty, but to join the Lord in sacrifice. Our discipleship demands that we empty ourselves so that we can be thoroughly united to Jesus.
A mother also has a special way of showing her love for us. Mary shows us her love by appearing to various peoples throughout the world. She appeared to St. Juan Diego in Guadalupe, and, by doing so, increased love for her Son and the Catholic faith in the New World. She appeared to a little girl named Bernadette in Lourdes in the year 1858, and she was in Knock, Ireland in 1879. In October of 1859, Our Lady appeared to a young Belgian immigrant named Adele Brise in what is now Champion, Wisconsin. That appearance, by the way, was the first approved Marian apparition in the United States. She appears to remind us of her love for us and call us to a deeper love of her Son. That is the mark of a true mother!
On this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we are reminded that Mary is also our mother. We call on her to protect us, nurture us and teach us to love. Will this devotion distract us from our love of Jesus? No! In fact, our love of Mary should strengthen our love of God. Remember, he gave us Mary to be our Mother. May she always guide us to her Son.