Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast of the Church, the Marian feast of Theotokos, Mother of God, as well as this day as the day of universal prayer for the peace in the world. On this day, also the first day of this new year of our Lord 2015, we give thanks to God for the past year, for all that He had done for us, the wonders and graces He had provided us in the year that had passed.
And on this New Year’s Day too, we ought to look forward and see in this new year to come, an ample opportunity for us to do what we have not been able to do in the previous year, and thus we have to reflect and evaluate on our own lives, our ways of life and how we interact with one another. This new year should begin with a new resolution on our side to achieve peace in this world, a lasting peace without hatred and violence, and one that is inspired by the examples of the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary.
For Mary is our role model, both in life and in how we should be faithful to the Lord. She is special amongst men and all who were created by God, for firstly she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore as He is both fully God and fully Man, she is by that virtue is the Mother of God, or in the original Greek, Theotokos, and it is this nature and title bestowed on Mary, the faithful servant of God, that we rejoice together as one Church.
There are unfortunately those who failed to understand this nature of Mary, and the great role she had played in the history of the salvation of mankind. They refused to honour her and glorify her, because they thought that in doing so they have idolises her and made her as if to be a goddess. But they were mistaken in this, and that was the lie that Satan tried to propagate in order to destroy the Church and harm the faithful ones.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, why do we honour Mary such, with many titles and graces? Why do we call her the Blessed Virgin Mary? Should we not honour man but God only? If we look deeper at the Scriptures and its meaning, then we will understand. Mary herself mentioned in the Magnificat, the prayer of rejoicing and revelry at the fulfillment of God’s promise through her, that she was blessed for all ages because of what God had done through her.
And we honour Mary as the mother of God because in Jesus we see the true, complete, full and perfect unity between the Divinity of which He is God, part of God and is truly God, limitless and omnipotent, and the Humanity, of which He was made into Flesh, the flesh of Man by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary is the mother of Jesus, both God and Man at the same time, fully God and fully Man, without separation, distinct in the two natures of divine and humanity, but united in the one person of Jesus Christ.
Those who deem Mary as a ‘goddess’ that we worship, do not make sense at all. If Mary is a goddess, then truly, where would the humanity of Christ come from? Indeed, God is almighty and it would truly be a trivial matter for Him to come directly in the form of Man if He so wished, but He chose to come through the woman, so that what God had revealed to man at the beginning of time might come to its full completion.
God said to Satan, in the serpent, and to the first woman, Eve, that he would bite the heels of the sons of the woman, while the woman will crush the serpent under her feet. Satan had introduced sin to men, and ever since that moment of rebelliousness and disobedience, men had fallen into sin, and apparently with no hope of rescue or escape, that is until the Woman came and made full God’s promises.
That woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She obeyed the Lord fully and let herself be used for the entire purpose of God, and as such, where Eve had failed, succumbing to her own vanity and personal desires for knowledge and more, Mary had succeeded and her examples became the source of inspiration for many. Mary remained faithful and committed to the Lord, to her Son and followed Him unto even His death on the cross.
Mary played such an important role in our Faith, as she was not merely just the mother of Jesus the Man, but also as the mother of the Word incarnate into flesh through her. The divinity and humanity of Jesus are completely and perfectly united in His person, two distinct natures but one person. Anyone who rejects this truth deviates from the teachings of Christ and is a heretic.
Such was the case with Arius, the famous preacher who would eventually be known for his role in the rise of the Arian heresy, where the rejection of the divinity of Christ was becoming commonplace, and this heresy was born out of the confusion that the devil spread in order to make the people unable to comprehend how Jesus could be both Divine and yet also Man at the same time.
If we look at the Scriptures, in the Holy Gospels, Jesus did things that both Man and the Divine do. He ate with His disciples, drank with them, was affected by sorrow and sadness, and He wept, yes for Lazarus, the one whom He was close friend with, when he apparently died from his sickness. Yet, at the same moment, He brought Lazarus back to life, healed the sick and forgave the sins of many, which are things that only God can do.
Thus, Jesus is truly fully Man and fully God, and it never occurred anywhere in the Gospels that the two natures were separate, but the two were always together. It was not merely the human Jesus that suffered for us on the cross, for no man could have born the entirety of the weight of the world’s sins, but God indeed can do so, and it was Jesus, both God and Man, who carried that cross up to Calvary and die for our sins, that we may live.
And if Jesus is both God and Man, then it is perfectly fine for Mary to be called the Mother of God, and that was what the Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in the year of our Lord 325 had affirmed in Faith, that Mary as the Mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God. Then, how is this relevant to us, brethren? That is because, Mary is our role model, and she is also our mother. For Mary has been set aside by God to be the mother of Jesus and in her works and actions, she became our example.
If all mankind are to follow the examples of Mary, then this world would have been so much better. No more violence, no more hatred, for if all were to follow Mary’s examples, they should have been filled with love, both for God and their fellow men, and not with hatred or evil. That is why, on this day, the day when Pope St. John XXIII dedicated his last Papal Encyclical, Pacem in Terris or Peace on Earth, this day is a day which we should dedicate with much prayer for the sake of peace in the world.
That time, the world had just been on the brink of a great nuclear war between the two superpowers of the world, and war had been avoided just because of very tense diplomacy between both sides. The threat of annihilation of countless peoples was just very great, one that we may not be familiar with today. Thus, as we begin this new year today, let us all pray together as one people, one Church, and all belonging to the house of the Lord, that peace, the peace of Christ may reign over all and the world, that it may dispel the evils that Satan had planted in this world and in us.
Jesus had entrusted Mary to John, His disciple, and that singular act is a great action of God entrusting His own mother to be the mother of us all. Let us thus, ask Mary, the Theotokos, the Mother of our Lord and God, who is also our Mother, to pray for all of us, for she, even though not a god nor goddess but a human being, being closest to the throne of her Son in heaven, she may intercede for us and gain for us the richness of the mercy and grace of our God. God bless us all. Amen.
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Epistle (Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord) :
Gospel (Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord) :