THROUGH VIRGIN MARY, HUMANITY GAINED HER REDEMPTION!
1st Reading: Numbers 6: 22-27; 2nd Reading: Galatians 4:4-7; Gospel: Luke 2:16-21.
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. With Great Joy I welcome you all to New Year 2022. A year of Grace, Mercy, Favour, Miracle, Deliverance, Breakthrough, Restoration, Healing, Spiritual Upliftment, and Success in the name of Jesus Christ.
Today, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Motherhood of Mary. The divine motherhood is the highest summit of all the gifts of grace which she has received from the heavenly Father, the gift towards which all the others are destined. Mary’s entire life and holiness are projected towards the incomparable mission of allowing the realization of the mystery of the incarnation, the divine Word made flesh in her most pure womb. She is the gateway to the mystery of God and the key to the understanding of God, Christ, and the Church.
Meanwhile, the classical doctrine on the Missio Dei (The mission of God) as God the Father sending the Son, and God the Father and the Son sending the Spirit was expanded to include yet another “movement”: The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit sending the Church into the world. And this was made possible through the role played by the Blessed Virgin Mary in her acceptance to be the Theotokos (Mother of God or God’s Carrier), that, when the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world, through her (Galatians 4:4).
Moreover, Mary was brought into an intimate relationship with the Blessed Trinity. As far as missionary thinking was concerned, this linking with the doctrine of the Trinity constituted an important innovation. Besides, her relationship with the Three Divine Persons is entirely unique and eternally different from that of any other human being. She was the daughter of God the Father, Mother of Jesus Christ, and true spouse of the Holy Spirit. Next to Christ, she supplies the most accurate image of the Holy Spirit.
Certainly, to see Mary in her relationship to the Trinity we must first turn to the dogma of her Immaculate Conception (Mary’s spiritual birth and baptism); which states that from the first moment of her existence Mary was preserved from the taint of original sin due to the foreseen merits of Christ. For, it would certainly be against right reason to think that the All-Pure God, the Second Person of the Trinity could take flesh in a woman who was tainted by sin. For God prepared Mary in her conception that He might one day be born of her in time.
In a certain way, the Blessed Virgin Mary unites and mirrors within herself the central truths of faith. Almost like a railway junction where many lines converge and where connections are established, she is the mirror reflecting the core truths of faith, the meeting point for a great many fundamental Christian doctrines. That is why in Vatican II, precisely – Lumen Gentium; Chapter 8, no. 53, the Church puts down in writing the tremendous and indispensable role Mary played in redemption. She calls her the “temple of the Holy Spirit”. Though her role in redemption was to be a purely human one, acting on behalf of mankind. It is a matter of great importance because every grace, virtue and supernatural gift, which Christ merited, is given to us by Mary and the Holy Spirit.
If through faith the Blessed Virgin Mary became the bearer of the Son given to her by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, while preserving her virginity intact, in that same faith she discovered and accepted the other dimension of motherhood revealed by Jesus Christ during His messianic mission. Hence, from Mary the Church also learns her own motherhood: she recognizes the maternal dimension of her vocation, which is essentially bound to her sacramental nature, in “contemplating Mary’s mysterious sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will.”
Furthermore, if the Church is the sign and instrument of intimate union with God, she is so by reason of her motherhood, because, receiving life from the Spirit, she “generates” sons and daughters of the human race to a new life in Christ. For, just as the Blessed Virgin Mary is at the service of the mystery of the Incarnation, so the Church is always at the service of the mystery of adoption to sonship through grace.
Consequently, through her “burning charity”, which sought to achieve, in union with Christ, the restoration of “supernatural life to souls,” Mary entered, in a way all her own, into the one mediation “between divinity and humanity.” Not only as our Mediatrix, but also as a mother she also wishes the messianic power of her Son to be manifested, that Salvific Power which is meant to help humanity in her misfortunes, to free her from the evil which in various forms and degrees weighs heavily upon her life.
This also lends credence to the statement made by St. John Paul II in his encyclical, that, “…the Church sees Mary in the saving mystery of Christ and in her own mystery; deeply rooted in humanity’s history and eternal vocation according to the providential plan which God has made for her from eternity. Mary is maternally present and sharing in the many complicated sufferings which today beset the lives of many people; … helping Christians in their constant struggle between good and evil, to ensure that they do not fall, or, if they have fallen, will rise again”(Redemptoris Mater, 1987, no. 52).
Finally, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and of the universe. Her exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant point of reference for the Church, for individuals and for communities, for peoples and nations and, in a sense, for all humanity. She is already the eschatological fulfilment of the Church and the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin, and so they raise their eyes to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as a model of the virtues, in order to understand in its completeness the meaning of her own mission.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.