Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the beginning of the new year in the reckoning of our calendar, and as we welcome the very first moments of this year, we also remember, as we have done every year, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, also known as Theotokos, by the virtue of her being the mother of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Today’s celebration is very important for us and for our faith, for in it lies the very basic tenet of our Faith, which even many people over the ages tried to rebuke and disprove in their wrong thoughts and heretical teachings. Chief of all these is Arius, the one who started the heresy of Arianism. In this heresy, those who adhere to its false teachings contended that Jesus was not God, but only mere Man.
For them, the nature of Jesus is as a created being, no different from that of all the other creatures. They did not see Jesus as the Son of God, and therefore much less, as the Divine Word incarnate into Flesh. They refused to believe that He is God, from the beginning until the end and unto all ages. They thought in their feeble minds, that it is impossible for God to bear a Son in Jesus.
And therefore the Church, having recognised the falsehoods of Arius and his followers, a confusion set by the devil himself, set on its way to counter and to fight back this false teaching and vicious heresy. As a result, during the very first Ecumenical Council convened in Nicaea in the year 325 AD, the nature of Christ as the Son of God was established and finalised, and all those who refused to believe in this truth, were cast out as heretics.
And by that virtue, in the later Ecumenical Council, namely the Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in the year 431 AD proclaimed Mary as the Theotokos, as the Mother of God (Theos). Previously there were also many who believed that Mary is the mother of Jesus, the Man, and as the mother of Christ but no more. There were also those who believed that because Christ is the Lord, both Man and God at the same time, even though Mary His mother was a human being, but by the virtue of being the mother of Jesus Christ, she is also the Mother of God.
This fact cannot be separated from the earlier part of the struggle between the Arians and the faithful Christians, on the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether He is just a Man, or whether He is both God and Man at the same time. If Jesus is just a mere Man, as the Arians had believed, then Mary is no more than just a mother of a great Man and nothing else.
Yet, we all believe in the Motherhood of God, in Mary as the Theotokos, because her Son Jesus is not just a Man, but also God at the same time. He is both fully God and fully Man at the same time, and the two natures, God and Man, while distinct, cannot be separated from each other and they are bound together in perfect hypostatical union in Christ, in perfect love.
This is why I said that this belief in Mary as the Mother of God is central to our faith, and without which I can say that our hold onto our faith is tenuous and weak. And it is also important to take note that this does not make Mary into a deity or a goddess herself. Rather, if we compare it to an earthly analogy, in a kingdom, a king’s mother is honoured even though she does not rule the kingdom as the mother of the king.
Similarly therefore, as God is the King of kings and the Ruler of all the universe, it is by the virtue of His great Kingship that His earthly mother is also honoured in the same way. This is why Mary as the Mother of God had such a special position in our faith and for all of us too. Why is this so? We have to look no further than the Sacred Scriptures in the Gospels themselves.
Firstly, all of us have been entrusted by our Lord to her, just as He entrusted her to all of us. When Jesus was crucified and about to die, He spoke to both His mother Mary and John His beloved disciple, and He entrusted Mary His mother to him, while at the same time He also entrusted him to His mother. In this manner, He had also entrusted all of us to her care, and He entrusted His own mother to be our intercessor and helper.
In the wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine, a miracle we all surely are familiar with, it was because of Mary’s urging and pleas that eventually Jesus allowed Himself to perform His first miracle despite His unwillingness and earlier rejection to help the wedding couple in distress. Mary never gave up in trying to help them, as she knew that the couple was in great trouble if they were to gain no help.
In the same way therefore, Mary is the one who can also help us on our way to the Lord, and whenever we are lost and in trouble, it is to her that we can also turn in order to help ourselves to escape from our predicament. It was said that the best way to reach out to our Lord Jesus is through His mother Mary, and indeed this is true. For Mary, being the closest to the throne of her Son, lies the closest to Him and her prayers are the ones that her own Son will not overlook.
Today, we also celebrate the World Day of Prayer of Peace, as we embark on this new year, let us all pray for world peace, that mankind will no longer seek to destroy and bring pain and suffering to one another, but instead live in harmony and true peace with each other. Let us all ask for the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, that these prayers we make will come to the ears of our Lord, and may He bless us with His peace.
O Lord Jesus, listen to us Your children and Your people, and let us all live in peace, love and harmony, and through Your blessed Mother Mary, who prays for our sake without cease, let peace reign on earth forevermore. Amen.