Tuesday, 1 January 2019 : Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, World Day of Prayer for Peace (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate both the first day of the new year in the Gregorian calendar, the first day of January, and also the occasion of the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, or also known in the original Greek title, Theotokos. This day, we commemorate on the last day of the Christmas Octave, Mary as the Mother of not just any ordinary man, but of God Himself in Jesus Christ, her Son, born from her womb.

In order to appreciate better the nature of the celebration today, we should look deeper into the history of the Church and the nature of our faith and the identity of Mary within our Christian beliefs. Today’s celebration of Mary as the Mother of God is indeed an important one, for this belief in Mary as the Mother of God came from the very core of our faith, in our belief that Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, was none other than God Himself, Who become incarnate as Man through Mary.

In the early days of the Church, the many diverging views and thoughts, beliefs and practices among the Christians became a great concern, as some of the leaders of the Church subscribed to the unorthodox and heretical ways of teaching the faith, and spreading false ideas and teachings among the people of God. And of particular concern is the identity of Christ, the Saviour of the world, and that of His mother, Mary.

Now we all know that Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is no less than both Divine and Man, full in His divinity and full in His humanity, having these two natures, divinity and humanity perfectly united and yet distinct, in the person of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. His divinity is never diminished by His assumption of humanity, and neither is His humanity is diminished by His divinity. Jesus is truly God and truly Man, united in His person, as the Son of Mary.

This is when the title granted to Mary, as the Mother of God and confirmed by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, is truly crucial in the correct understanding of our Christian faith. For at that time, the Church was divided bitterly among those who claimed that Mary, as a human being, could not have been the mother of God, but only merely the mother of Jesus Christ, a human being. In the same argument then, they also argued that the One born of Mary was only a human being and separated from God the Divine.

But that was the lie which the devil had sown into the hearts and minds of men, in trying to spread falsehoods and heresies among the people of God. The devil does not desire to see mankind saved and liberated from their sins and wickedness, and thus, he sowed the lies and the divisions that prevented many from being able to find the true path of salvation in God, in doubting that Mary is the mother of God, and therefore, doubting the divinity of Christ Himself.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, although the theology behind the true nature of Christ, His divinity and humanity is indeed a mystery of our faith, but with simple common sense and understanding, we should see why Mary is indeed the mother of God. If we truly believe that Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is truly fully God and fully Man, having two distinct nature of human and the divine in Him, and yet, inseparable and cannot be distinguished, as the two natures are united perfectly in Him.

Therefore, it is illogical and not right for us to say that Mary, is just the mother of a man, or just the mother of the human half of Jesus, because Jesus is both God and Man, and cannot be separated into either or into halves. If such a division is impossible, and if we cannot say that should we divide our own body into halves and that each half is still us, then we cannot say that Mary is only the mother of Jesus Christ the Man. If we believe that Jesus is God, then Mary is, the Mother of God.

Mary occupies a special place in our faith, because of this honour that Christ has bestowed on His mother based on the natural law, of her having had the Lord and Saviour in her womb for nine months, born of her own flesh and blood, and being the one who loved Him and took care of Him, and followed Him all the way to the foot of the cross, as a loving mother to her Son, Our Lord, Saviour and God.

In the ancient times, the mother of the king often occupy a special place in the kingdom as the queen mother of the kingdom, whose experience and wisdom were often sought by the king and also even by his advisors. The example for this is king Solomon, whose mother, Bathsheba, the wife and queen of Solomon’s father David, sat by the right side of the king on a separate throne, and Solomon often conferred with her.

Now, let us imagine the parallel with Christ and Mary. Our Lord Jesus is the King of Kings, the Lord and Master of all the universe, of all creation. If Solomon’s mother occupied such an important seat in her son’s kingdom, and if Solomon himself listened to the advice and the words of his mother, then how can Our Lord Jesus not honour His own mother, Mary, in the same manner? That is why, Mary, as the blessed Mother of God, is so special for us all.

And even more importantly, Mary is not just the mother of God, but in fact, also the mother of all mankind, of all of us, which her Son proclaimed symbolically from the cross, when He entrusted her to the care of His disciple, St. John, and at the same time, entrusting St. John to His mother’s care as well. By that action, in truth, Mary was entrusted to all of us, as our mother, and we are also entrusted to her as if we are her own children.

That is why, Mary has tried to help us so many times, appearing in various places at various times, particularly during times of war and great conflict, when mankind sinned in such a way that so many of the souls of men could have been lost, if it was not for the intervention of Mary, the Mother of God and our mother, who loves us just as much as she loves her Son. She does not want us to be lost to her, and that is why, she is directing us all to her Son.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our lives, especially as today we also mark the beginning of our current new year. Let us imitate and follow the examples of Mary in our actions and in how we devote ourselves to God. Let us learn from Mary, how we should give our whole being to the Lord, and obey Him just as she had obeyed His will and responded in such a way, that she surrendered herself to His will.

And because Mary, as mentioned, is at the right hand of God, her Son, let us also ask her, our best intercessor, to pray for us. Just as the Lord Jesus even listened to the pleas of Mary, asking Him to help the wedding couple in trouble in Cana, surely, by the intercession of Mary, we too shall be given the favour that we need, providing that everything is also within what God wants from us. Let us all therefore, from now on, reach out to the Lord, through His most blessed and loving mother, Mary, who is also our mother.

O Holy Mary, most blessed among women and blessed mother of God, pray for us all your adopted children, that all of us may find our way to your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for us, o mother of God, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.