Sun Jan 1 The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Introduction:

We sometimes forget that just as we’ve a mother on earth we’ve a mother also in heaven. For Christ gave Mary to be our mother on the cross. We pray to that holy mother today for all mothers and we express our sorrow for any failure in our parental care..

Homily

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. A good mother is priceless. And today’s feast of Mary, mother of God and our mother gives us a model for parents. God choose for Jesus a real down-to-earth authentic lady. “He hath looked on his servant in her lowliness”, she says. She drew a moral from God’s choice: “he casts down the mighty from their thrones and lifts up the lowly”.

That is, God’s choice of Mary upsets worldly values. It says the really important people are not the legends in their own eyes but unpretentious, gentle, humble and loving people often laughed at by the world: saintly nuns, kind carers, good fathers and mothers, faithful parishioners, dedicated nurses and doctors. Making a difference by their lives, they earn God’s reward.

At Jesus’s conception there were plenty of the opposite – rich, powerful, self-serving people such as Herod’s wife. But God didn’t ask her to be his mother or invite her to worship his son. It was humble shepherds who came to his son in a manger. And it was a poor obscure village woman who suckled him. Our salvation was in her acceptance of that role. But she could do no less. For it expressed God’s will and all her life she had done just that.

And that’s the message for us today as worldly towers of Babel crumble around us. To cop ourselves on. For our sense that we’re here to serve God and fellow humans can fade if we’re enslaved by money. Even at Christmas we can so lose ourselves. I remember when abroad, being shocked by Christmas commercialism; it was a success only if sales were up. On Boxing Day decorations came down and straight into sales. We may still have 12 days of family gathering, midnight mass, the crib. Is that changing?

I hope not, for real happiness is in that Christmas message; to be faithful to God’s humane wise and gentle Christmas values as represented by Mary. I’m sure 90% are doing precisely that, seeing beyond the glitter to family togetherness. I do not at all agree with the pessimists. They show lack of faith in the Lord and his holy spirit. In many modern-day Bethlehems, overlooked by the world, God’s even now inspiring the many Marys of our world. People with humble, generous hearts who answer his call to love and forge the future of society in real caring homes.

Look at the difference Mary’s yes made. Because of it we’re assured of the long-term victory of goodness. We make a similar difference if we hang in there faithfully in love no matter what the world throws at us. That word “the faithful” is a wonderful word and it is just what Mary was. We should be like her. Our faith and goodness should light up our world as Mary did her’s; in homes, parishes and work places, through prayer, social work, collecting for Vincent De Paul, caring of the elderly, working in parish pastoral teams. Good priests, nuns and saintly lay people; they’re the Marys of our day. For only humble faithful Christians can birth Jesus in a world as troubled, violent and lost as in Mary’s time. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord”, lets say and mean that. For cruel worldly values fade to dust at last but Christs lord of love, goodness, grace and glory both for this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s people, called to serve him and others with humble hearts, like Mary, in an often dark and troubled world that needs our care, lets profess our faith….

Prayers of the Faithful:

For the Pope, and all leaders of the church that they may serve God and his people with humble care and love like that of Mary towards her family and all of us her new family..

For all those who govern us that they may not lord it over the people but give humble, honest and equal service to all.

For our great youth who see where true and enduring value is in Christ and mother church and find rest for their souls there..

For ourselves in our trials and difficulties, that we may turn to Mary our mother, and mother of the church, at all times, and ask for her healing and loving care for our children and loved ones..

For the sick, the old, the lonely, and the oppressed that through our love and care they may experience the love of Christ…

For the dead that they may come to their heavenly home in peace light and glory..

Reflection:

The story of Lourdes gives us a good image of Mary. There she came to a poor frail girl and addressed her with great gentle love: “would you do me the kindness to come here..”. Bernadette says she was very beautiful but also young and humble and radiant with light, not at all overbearing or full of herself. That’s our gentle mother and each of us are her beloved children as brothers and sisters of Christ. Confident of her gentle love and care we commend ourselves and our families to her.. “Hail Mary…”.

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