Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Cycle A, Year I)
God’s presence brings unspeakable joy to His people.
We experience God’s presence when we keep Him in our hearts.
“…. I will bless them.” (Nb 6:27b)
In humility and obedience, Mary accepted God’s will when told that she will be the mother of Jesus. Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done according to Your Word,” (Lk 1:38). She did not argue nor complain. She just said – “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” From that moment on, she just lived for, in, and with Jesus, acknowledging that “God has looked upon my lowliness,”(Lk 1:48).
In winter, and in humble and difficult circumstances, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes (small strips of clothing) and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn. A manger is a trough or an open box designed to hold animal feed or fodder for livestock. Their only visitors were the shepherds who were tending their flock in that region. Yet Mary did not complain but kept all these things in her heart, reflecting upon them.
Just like Mary we should give witness in the words of St. Paul:“Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I live now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and gave Himself up for me,” (Gal 2:20). When people observe how our lives in Christ are filled with contentment, thanksgiving, rejoicing, praising and worshipping God, others will want to experience the same joy and peace in their hearts. They too, will want to meet Jesus and be blessed with this new life in Christ Jesus.
Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done according to Your Word,” (Lk 1:3). Just like Mary, we can be faithful by being doers of His word. When others observe our patience, the soothing words that flow from our lips, our willingness to accept fraternal correction, and how kind, merciful, and forgiving we are, and how our health has been greatly improved from eliminating unnecessary stress, people will also want to be similarly blessed. When they consider how faithful we have been in giving our tithes and love offerings, yet lack for nothing, they will recognize the hand of God in our circumstances.
Through the humble birth of Jesus in the manger, Mary showed us not to be resentful of those who reject us. Mary also gave witness that indeed we will be blessed when we live simple lives. When people see we do not worship the status symbols and empty idols of today -cars, clothes, jewelries, gadgets, etc. – to the extent of going into debt to acquire them, they will know that God supplies all our needs, and that the measure of our self-respect and the respect of others for us do not depend on the value of the material things we possess nor in the humble statement made by our inexpensive attire.
The only visitors to the Babe in the manger were shepherds who were poor and uneducated, doubtless as smelly as the sheep they are tending. But they had the privilege of being the first to welcome the Savior of the world. Christ himself became poor to make us rich, who are we, even if we are rich and famous, to look down on the less fortunate? People will know we’re disciples of Christ when we can love every kind of people, regardless of social status, creed, color, race, or class, and when we can share our resources in building up His Kingdom here on earth. When people see how God blesses those who go on mission, they too would want to be part of the mission of spreading the Good News of Jesus.
As disciples of Jesus Christ who have received His Holy Spirit, we continue to be a blessing to others as we humble ourselves and remain obedient like Mary. Thus the promise of the week comes alive for us as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven: “…I will bless them” (Nb 6:27b).
Mary, Mother of God, by your humble obedience to God’s will, our salvation was made possible. Intercede for us that we remain true followers of your Son. As we start this New Year, help us to remain faithful to our calling to bring more souls to Christ. Help us overcome all temptations and obstacles along the way so that no matter what the difficulties might be, we will never get discouraged, but put our complete trust and hope in God. Amen.
1. In what areas in my life am I not yet humble and obedient like Mary?
2. How can I be humble and obedient like Mary?
This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
January 1, 2017 (Sun) – Nm 6:22-27/Ps 67:2, 3, 5, 6/Ga 4:4-7/Lk 2:16-21
January 2, 2017 (Mon) – 1 Jn 2:22-28/Ps 98:1-4/Jn 1:19-28
January 3, 2017 (Tue) – 1 Jn 2:29-3:6/Ps 98:1,3-6/Jn 1:29-34
January 4, 2017 (Wed) – 1 Jn 3:7-10/Ps 98:1,7-9/Jn 1:35-42
January 5, 2017 (Thu) – 1 Jn 3:11-21/Ps 100:1-5/Jn 1:43-51
January 6, 2017 (Fri) – 1 Jn 5:5-13/Ps 147:12-15,19,20/Mk 1:7-11
January 7, 2017 (Sat) – 1 Jn 5:14-21/Ps 149:1-6,9/Jn 2:1-11
“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”