Sunday readings in brief: Mary, the Holy Mother of God
Numbers 6:22-27; Psalms 66(67); Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21
The logical Conclusion
Dear friends, today is the 1st of January, and the feast of Mary, Holy Mother of God. During the first centuries after the resurrection of Jesus, faith matters were not organized. Not much was written about the main content of the Christian faith apart from the Gospels, which related to the life of Jesus and the letters of St. Paul and other letters which tried to explain faith in Christ. As time went by, the young Church experienced a huge shift, that is from being persecuted to being the Roman state religion, politics, and clave for power invaded the Church leaders. There were also cultural differences between East and West that brought sharp divisions
There was a big division among the bishops about the major tenets of faith. The matter was so grave that the laity tended to be champions of orthodoxy while their bishops (seduced by closeness to imperial power) tended not to be. The dispute began with the question of whether Jesus Christ was of the same nature as God or whether he was the only man. Bishop Ario led the faction that said that Jesus was created by the Father and was not equal to him. Bishop Athanasius on the other side led the faction that defended orthodoxy that Jesus was the true God and true man- consubstantial with the father. The First Council of Bishops convened in Nicea in 325 and defined Jesus as the true God and true man. Arianism was rejected and Ario and his followers were excommunicated.
This declaration of faith brought about another dispute that was about the position of Mary. If Mary was the Mother of Jesus and Jesus is the son of God, it is only logical to conclude that Mary was the mother of God. The matter was disputed for a long period and was put to rest by the declaration by the council of Ephesus in 432 that Mary was Theotokos – Mother of God.
Since the beginning, the Church has always honored Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and the mother of all those redeemed by her Son Jesus. God chose and prepared Mary as the second Eve who would bring salvation to the world. God created Man and Woman in his own image and likeness and placed them above all His creatures. God respects us so much, that he cannot violate the freedom He gave us in the beginning. That is He chose to come to us in our own nature so that he can teach and convince us to return to God.
Through Mary, the world has received salvation and that is why we honor her and ask her to intercede for us to her son. Mary accepted the heavy task of being a mother of a child that was a big mystery to her and risked even being banished from the community were it not for the generosity of her spouse St. Joseph. Jesus came to redeem and makes sons and daughters of the Father with the right to inherit the kingdom of God that had been taken from us by sin.
Mary kept everything in her heart and became the first believer in her son. By bringing Jesus on earth and raising him until he began his public ministry, Mary became a co-redeemer. We are also called to be Jesus’ co-redeemers in our communities.
Dear friends, as we contemplate upon the role that Mary played in the history of salvation, I invite us to also reflect on the role each one is given to play in bringing salvation to our communities. Through baptism, we have become sons and daughters of God. Our vocation is to bring others to Jesus. May the mother of our Lord and the mother of us all help us to play our role in bringing salvation to all?
Have a happy new year
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD