Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday Homily - Mary, Mother of the Living

As promised, the text of the January 1st Homily:

Today we celebrate the motherhood of our Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The title of this feast, "Mary, Mother of God" is actually a theological doctrine, that goes all the way back to the year 431 at the Council of Ephesus, when our Blessed Mother was declared, "Mother of God".  It was really intended to say more about Jesus, the fact that Jesus was God, than it was to say something about Mary.  Nonetheless, being such an important feast of our Blessed Mother, I would like to focus my reflections on her this morning.  I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to surf over to our diocesan website, admittedly it's not a very user-friendly website, but if you can navigate around, somewhere buried in there, is an explanation of our diocesan Coat of Arms, and our diocesan motto.  For those who don't know, our diocesan motto is Mater Viventium, "Mother of the Living" and this is another title given to our Blessed Mother, "Mother of the Living."  Certainly we know that she is the Mother of God, she is the Mother of Christ, she is Mother of the Church.  When our Lord gave her over to St. John as he hung on the Cross, she became the Mother of the Church, but that title is given to her as well, Mother of the Living.  It was given to her by St. Epiphanius (that's a $10 factoid there that you can impress your friends with, St. Epiphanius called Mary, "Mother of the Living").  That title was actually first used, in Genesis Chapter 3 to make reference to Eve, that Eve was the "Mother of the Living".  After all, she is the first woman, she is the mother of all humanity, but then Mary is also called the Mother of the Living, because she is often referred to as the "New Eve."  If we go back and take a look at that story in Genesis, we see that it was Eve who was the one who was first tempted by the serpant, it was Eve's disobedience that caused Adam to sin, to bring Original Sin into the world, to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  So just as Eve first was disobedient and led Adam into sin, so first Mary was obedient to God's plan, before our Lord's obedience in his sacrifice of himself on the Cross.  Christ is often referred to as the New Adam, because he revereses Adam's sin, and Mary the New Eve, because she reverses the disobedience of the first Eve.  As we know, Mary was obedient to God throughout her entire life, at every moment of her life she did God's will, she never committed a single sin throughout her entire life.  Her obedience was most important though, at that moment when the Angel appeared to her, and the Angel of the Lord told her that she would become the Mother of God.  Nevertheless, she still had the free choice, she could have said "no".  She could have said, "I don't want to be a part of it, I don't understand, I'm afraid, I can't do this" but of course she was perfectly obedient in all things, and so she did say "Yes, let it be done to me according to your word."  Through that act of obedience to God's will, she became the Mother of Christ, and she became the New Eve, the Mother of all the Living.  Her role as mother, of course, doesn't end with that, her role as mother continues.  She loves each and every one of us with a mother's love, she loves the whole world, each and every person with a mother's love, not just the members of her Son's body, the members of the Church.  So we are invited, we are encouraged to turn to her in our times of need.  Mary's intercession is certainly very powerful.  I myself have to confess being a bit of a late comer to Marian devotion, there was not much Marian devotion practiced at home when I was growing up, but I have come to discover in my life, on a few occasions turning to our Blessed Mother, that her intercession is indeed very, very powerful, and very effective.  It might be a very simplistic way to say it, but, if we have Mary on our side, then we cannot fail; that what seems almost impossible, suddenly becomes almost easy if we have our Blessed Mother on our side.  She wants to help us, she wants to show us that mother's love, that she has for each and every one of us, she wants us to turn to her, so she can lead us to her Son.  So as we begin this new year, 2012, we commend our Parish, our families, our friends, our Diocese, and indeed the whole world to the prayers and the intercession of our Blessed Mother; Mary, Mother of the God, Mary, Mother of the Living, that she might continue to show us a mother's love, that she might continue to intercede for us, that we might know the grace and power, and forgiveness and mercy of her Son.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

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