There are many dogmas (Church’s teachings or declarations) about the Virgin Mary. For instance; ‘’Immaculate Conception’’, which means she was conceived without sin and redeemed from inheriting original sin; ‘’Assumption into heaven’’, which means her body never experienced corruption here on earth; ‘’Mediatrix of all graces’’ because of her intercessory role to humanity; ‘’the queen ship of Mary’’, which means the Queen of all the saints in heaven; and then ‘’the holy mother of God’’ that we celebrate today. These are some of the different ways in which the Church honors Mary. The Church honors her because of her unique and profound role in the history of our salvation.
Many people would ask why we honor her. Some would say that we worship her. That is not true. Why do we call her mother of God? John 1:1… says: ‘’in the beginning there was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God and all things came through him, and without him nothing came to be….. And the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…that is the incarnation’’ It is this word that took flesh in the womb of Mary. If that word is God then Mary is the mother of God since she gave birth to him. We can as well say that of all children their mothers are older than them except Jesus because he was before her as God and her creator. And so if God who created all things chose her and made her his mother, who are we not to give her that honor due to her?
In our creed we do say: ‘’ I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, born of the father before all ages. God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
BEGOTTEN NOT MADE—Means he was not created like us humans but was divine and only took a human nature to be with us. He is one in being with the father
CONSUBSATANTIAL WITH THE FATHER—means- he is of the same substance or being with the father. That is why he told the disciple that to have seen him is to have seen the father because they are of the same being and substance. Philippians 2:6 say: Though he was God but he did not count his equality with the father….. Rather he emptied or humbled him, and took the form of a slave, coming in human form. All these goes to confirm the fact that Jesus is truly God. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God and we should honor her accordingly.
In Luke 1: 48, Mary said ‘’from now hence forth all generation shall call me blessed because the Lord has done great things for me’’. So, we are simply fulfilling this prophecy as we honor her. Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist said to her ‘’blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of womb, Jesus. Whom am I that the mother of my Lord should visit me?’’
Some people question why we venerate images and pray asking for interception of the saints. We honor and revere our heroes in the civil society, and we name streets and buildings after them; we sometimes make their images to immortalized them and for remembrance. We make them our role models. So what is wrong if we do the same thing to the heroes of our faith and religion? We keep pictures and images of our family members, friends and dear ones. Why can’t we do the same to our spiritual family members and friends?
We go to mortal human beings and ask for prayers or intercessions. We also believe that when people lived good lives here on earth and they died, that they will go to heaven to be with God. You cannot be where God is unless you are like him in holiness. Therefore, if people here on earth can intercede for us, and God will listen and answer their prayers for us, why won’t God listen to those (saints) in heaven with him? The book of wisdom 3:1-9 says: ‘’the souls of the just are in the hands of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace….God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself….They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their king forever’’. This explains to us the power and position of the saints in heaven. Therefore, praying and asking for their intercession is not out of place.
If you believe that Jesus is God and born by Mary, why can’t you honor her? If you honor and respect you own parents why can’t you honor and respect the mother of God? If you believe that ‘’with God all things are possible’’, why are you not believing the virginity of Mary ( immaculate conception) and the fact that she never had any other child but Jesus even though she was married to, and lived with Joseph? Why do you think that God himself will dwell in a human being like Mary and yet she would be unclean? The angel said she was full of grace, meaning that, she was redeemed and made pure without sin.
LESSIONS TO LEARN FROM MARY
• Her humility before God and her husband Joseph.
• Her generosity in giving herself and her son for the serving of mankind.
• Her purity of heart that attracted God’s favor to her.
• Her obedience and submissiveness to the will of God.
• Her faith in God despite a difficult message from an angel.
• Her gratefulness to God as expressed in her song of joy to God for doing great things to her.
• Her desire for justice to be done to the oppressed and poor.
• Above all she is a model for all Christians. Let us emulate her as we enter the new- year. Let us ponder on the word of God to get wisdom and knowledge to live a better Christian life this New Year.
• Let us consecrate ourselves to her for her maternal protection and intercession this new- year. Let us pray and work for peace, love, and unity in our society.
• Let us resolve to be better Christians in the new- year and do not carry unnecessary luggage into the New Year.
• I wish you a happy and prosperous new year.
THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD
A religious education teacher asked his students about their previous lesson which was about the wedding feast at Cana, and a little boy of eight years old answered him saying, ‘’our previous class was about how Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding’’. The teacher was impressed and asked another question, ‘’and what did you learned from that lesson?’’ The boy after thinking for some time, answered again saying, ‘’if you are going to have a wedding, make sure you invite Jesus and Mary’’.
Jesus performed his first miracle at the wedding at Cana. He transformed water into wine in order to solve the problem of the shortage of wine and to enable the groom to entertain his guests adequately. This was at the insistence of his mother even when it was not yet his time to begin his ministry. This shows us the power of Jesus to do things that humans cannot imagine and how relevant Mary’s intercession is in our lives as we struggle for our salvation.
This miracle also tells us how important marriage is in our lives. While creating humans, God created the first marriage between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We can see from the beginning and all through the Bible that marriage is used as a symbol of God’s covenant relationship with his people. The first reading today from Isaiah talks about God’s faithful love to his people in comparison to a husband’s faithful love to his wife. God is the faithful groom and we are his beloved bride, who is expected to be faithful as well. By virtue of our baptism we have been betrothed to Christ as a bride to her groom (II Cor. 11:2). Our lives as Christians are essentially the lives of marriage relationship with the Lord and with one another in which we are expected to be faithful always. In this our marriage relationships, abundant miracles takes place every day.
We get more of these miracles when we invite Jesus and Mary into our lives. With the intercession of our blessed mother, Mary and the power of her son, Jesus we can overcome and do great things in our lives. However, for these miracles to happen in our lives, we must listen to and do what Mary and Jesus tell us. As the bride of the Lord we are expected to obey and be faithful because he is always faithful.
In the second reading, Paul talked about how Christ has given each one of us new wine, that is, wine of gifts and blessings of the Holy Spirit which will enable us to offer services to God and to one another. We must not be selfish with our gifts and blessings because they are meant for service to God and to one another. Your gifts are for everybody and for you alone.
Therefore, let us invite Jesus and Mary into our lives and marriages always so that we can always receive the miracle of the new wine which is capable of fixing all our problems in marriage and life. We must learn to always take our problems to the Lord for he is capable of solving them for us as he did at the wedding at Cana. Always ask our Mother Mary to intercede for you and you are sure of Jesus’ intervention with a miracle. Do no give up or despair in the face of difficulty, but trust in the power of Mary’s intercession and the power of Jesus’ intervention.