Dec 31, 2016

Mary, Mother of God


Mary, Mother of God

Still within the Season of Christmas, the enduring image of the baby Jesus remains very much with us. It is "captured" in the manger scene before us. Indeed, for a whole week, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the ox and the donkey haven't moved one inch! They seem to have frozen in time as they gaze into the crib where the child has been perfectly positioned, as if someone has pressed the pause button. Rather than listening to the conversations, real or imagined, that take place inside the Bethlehem stable, or listening to the music of angels in the background, we are allowed instead to meditate on the relationships between each of those present.

Today, at the beginning of a New Year, we reflect on the most natural relationship a baby can have with anyone. We see this again and again in the enduring image of Mary holding the Christ child, close to her. Mary's femininity can never be divorced from her motherhood - bringing this child into the world is what every cell in her body has prepared for.

Even though her arms cradle the little child, God's Word that has now become Flesh in Jesus, does not speak in sentences, sermons or soundbites. At least, not for now. This baby must first be nurtured, fed, loved, allowed to grow strong in earthly wisdom and strength to become the world's savior. This does not happen overnight, nor within a vacuum. It begins within the natural embrace of this holy mother and child and the trust that deepens and evolves between them.

But this is not just the natural trust between a mother and her child. It is a divine trust as this child is the physical embodiment of "God with us". God does not simply use Mary as a means to enter into our world. That would make Mary simply a surrogate. Instead, God entrusts himself, his physical well being to her. He trusts her with Himself. He allows Himself, as a small and vulnerable child, to be subject to her, to be influenced by her, to be taught by her.

Under her supervision, the Son of God, will learn to pray in the Jewish tradition and how to read the Sacred Scriptures. Under her watchful eye, the Son of God will learn the social skills to engage with other children, families, elders, friends and strangers. God allows Himself to be mothered by Mary. In doing so, God trusts Himself and His whole plan of salvation for humanity completely to Mary's motherhood and in doing so allows her to cooperate in our salvation.

For each of us who are baptized, our baptism is not a simple membership status in the Church.  Through baptism, we take upon ourselves the image of Christ himself. We become Christ to others, to the world. We are not self made Christians. With so many influences around us, before us, in front of us, each providing so many lessons of how to live the Christian life, let us not forget that Christ is not an orphan child. He is the Son of God the Father and the Son of Mary His Mother.  

And if we are likewise to grow and mature into the image and likeness of Christ by God’s grace, will not Mary's motherhood also extend to us because she sees and loves her son in us. If God can trust her motherhood, what stops us allowing her to be also our own mother, to reach out to us, to hold us and teach us as she taught her Son, how to pray, how to listen, how to walk, and how to speak and proclaim the message of salvation to the waiting world.


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