Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2023

Many Protestants and even some Catholics shudder and bristle whenever we call the Blessed Virgin Mary “The Mother of God.”  How could she give birth to God who created the universes and all that is created?

Well, she certainly gave birth to the human nature of Jesus and gave him a body, in which to be born, to become a human being.  In that very real sense, Mary is the Mother of the God who entered human history.

I think that the Solemnity of Mary as the Mother of God strengthens further the recognition of how deeply human Jesus is, born of a real human being.  His flesh and his body came from Mary, and Jesus experienced all that a real human embryo experienced, the whole process of becoming a living human being.

Jesus was not a shooting star from heaven.  Not only was he fully human, he was born in the most unpleasant circumstances, and it is a miracle that he survived.

If we declare, as the Church declares, that Jesus was human, we also declare that He was the Son of God.  As heaven and earth joined together, so also his divine life and human nature.  Mary became the womb and the human nature through whom Jesus came into being human.

Our second reading becomes a summary: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman… to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons and daughters.”  That is how Mary becomes our mother also.

What has happened for us at Christmas is that God sent the very Spirit of his Son into our hearts, and thus we not only become the children of God, but the mother of God as well.

More than what we receive is what we give – the very life and love of God we share with others.  We pick up where God leaves off, and the miracle of life continues through us.

To be “the mother of God” is also a metaphor and helps us to realize that just as Jesus became, thoroughly human and thoroughly divine, we are called to open our personalities and lives to realize that we also are more than we think that we are.

By our good example, by our willingness to serve others and our world, we become like a good mother, a worthy steward and a servant after God’s heart.

Our feast today strengthens our belief in Jesus, our belief that he was the Son of God, indeed the Son of Mary, His mother is our mother.

Our gospel story tells us that Mary reflected on all that was happening, and perhaps took many years to embrace the outcome of Jesus’ life.  Mary lived the initial years of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and she lived the beginnings of what has become our community of faith.  She reflected and wondered about what it all meant.

Perhaps that is what we need to do now as the Christmas season winds its way to the New Year and beyond.

Will we continue to give birth to Jesus in our lives?  We can invite Jesus into our lives.  We can give new form to his spirit, new words and action to his presence.  More than a yearly celebration and happy festivities, we renew what has begun, we play God forward, we bring more truth and life and love into our world.  We also are the mothers of God.  God hopes that we do and live what God did.

All we have to say is “that I will try to do that.”  It only takes a little bit of reflection and attention to do that.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, mother of Jesus, spiritual mother of all of us, inspire us to live with and in the spirit of your Son, Jesus.  May we give birth to his spirit and love today!  Amen!

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