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Sunday:       Mary, Mother of God
Date:         January 1, 2012
Year:         B
The readings: [Num. 6:22-7; Gal. 4:4-7; Lk. 2:16-21]
The message:  God sent His Son, born of a woman.
Prepared by:  Catholic Doors Ministry
Total words:  1317

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** The readings follow the sermon.

Welcome my brothers and sisters in Christ to today's celebration of the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year. I pray that the Lord Jesus fills your lives during the coming year with an abundance of blessings that will enrich your spiritual lives so you may continue to shine a brilliant lights in the world. I personally believe that today's Feast of "Mary, Mother of God" is very appropriate to start a new year. This celebration echoes that the Blessed Virgin Mary who is the Mother of God, is also our Heavenly Mother. It echoes the words, "Through Mary to Jesus!" It also echoes God's Divine progressive Plan of Redemption through the Virgin Mary.

Today, I would like to retrace the origin of this very special Feast. While not all Christians accept that Mary is the Mother of God, we Catholics believe it to be so. We base our faith in this dogma on the words of Elizabeth who was the cousin of Mary. When the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth after the angel had appeared to her and told her that she would be the mother of Jesus, Elizabeth said, "And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?" [Lk. 1:43] Through Elizabeth who was full of the Holy Spirit, it was acclaimed that Mary had been chosen to be the Mother of God.

When Elizabeth said "the mother of my Lord," she was referring to the heavenly Father, the Lord, Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, He being present in the womb of Mary. At that moment in time, the Trinity had not yet been revealed to mankind. Jesus and the Holy Spirit were unknown. Based on this passage alone, it cannot be denied that the Blessed Virgin Mary was to become, not only the Mother of Jesus as God incarnated, but also the Mother of the heavenly Father.

In 431 A.D, the Council of Ephesus affirmed that Mary was truly the Mother of God because "according to the flesh" she gave birth to Jesus, who was truly God from the first moment of His conception. The words that they used to affirm this truth are,

"We confess, then, our lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God perfect God and perfect man of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the virgin, according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy virgin to be the mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her."

Twenty years later, in 451 A.D. at the Council of Chalcedon, it was affirmed that the Motherhood of Mary was a truthful dogma and an official doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church. The Council based its proclamation on the truth that 'The birth of flesh reveals human nature; (while the) birth from a virgin is a proof of Divine power.'

The Feast of the Mother of God affirms that Mary was the mother of Jesus who was both God and human. The Holy Scriptures teaches us through the Gospel of John that Jesus was both God and human. "The Word became flesh and lived among us." [Jn. 1:14] The Holy Bible also teaches us that Mary was the Mother of Jesus [Mt. 1:18-25] and that Jesus is God. [Jn. 20:28]

The Blessed Virgin Mary was not always the Mother of God. Her Motherhood began when the eternal God entered human history. The second Divine presence of the Trinity, the Word, took on a human nature in the womb of Mary. Therefore, Jesus had two natures, a Divine and a human nature. Mary was the mother of His human nature.

Now, I will try to explain the Motherhood of Jesus in easier terms for all to understand. First of all, let us consider what your soul is. It is your self-awareness, your consciousness, the "I" or the "me" within you. Secondly, let us consider when your were born. Where did your bodies come from? They came from the seed of your biological parents. But where did your soul come from since it is not physical? It was created by God who implanted your soul in your bodies at the moment of conception. Therefore, within you, there is a physical and a non-physical part of your being, both being united as one.

Now, when a mother has a child, she rightfully claims to be the mother of that child. In reality, her claim should be limited to the physical body of the child. But, the mother also claims to be the mother of the soul that God has created in that little body of the infant. Therefore, the mother is the mother of the two natures, the physical and the non-physical parts of the being of the infant to be born that coexists as one.

Now, if we are to take Jesus, His soul is eternal. The "I" or the "me" always existed because He is God. While God created our souls at the moment of conception, in the case of Jesus, the Word of God came upon the Virgin Mary by the power of the Spirit. While the Blessed Virgin Mary provided the body of Jesus by nourishing Him in her womb, she was blessed with the indwelling of the eternal soul of God.

Now, going back to human mothers, they all claim to be the mother of the physical and non-physical part of the being of the child. Equally, the Catholic Church proclaims that the Blessed Virgin Mary was the mother of the physical and non-physical part of the being of her child. In this case, Jesus who was Divine. He was God! As such, Mary is the Mother of the human nature of Jesus through the birth of His physical body and the Mother of His Divine nature as God.

My brothers and sisters, this is the mystery of the Motherhood of Mary as the Mother of God. When the shepherds heard from the angels that the Lord Jesus had been born, this is the mystery that they perceived. They had just learned of the fulfillment of God's promises that are found in the Old Testament. That when the fullness of time would come, God would send His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that all may receive adoption as children.

Today, we are starting a new day and a new year with inner knowledge and understanding of the greatness of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. In our hearts, we can perceive the potential benefits of having a daily relationship with the Virgin Mary because she truly is the Mother of God. In our hearts, we can perceive that if anyone can obtain favours for us in our time of need, surely, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary for she is the Mother of God.

Knowing this truth, let us continue the celebration of the Holy Mass in thanksgiving to God for the gift that He has bestowed upon us... His Mother, our Mother, she who is full of grace!

The readings...

First Reading...

"The Lord spoke to Moses: 'Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'Thus you shall bless the children of Israel: You shall say to them,

'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.'

So they shall put my name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.'" [Num. 6:22-7]

Second Reading...

"Brothers and sisters: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive sonship.

'' And because you are sons and daughters, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' So you are no longer slave but son, and if a son then also heir, through God." [Gal. 4:4-7]

Gospel Reading...

"The shepherds went with haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the Angel before he was conceived in the womb." [Lk. 2:16-21]

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