THROUGH VIRGIN MARY, HUMANITY GAINED DIVINE MERCY AND SALVATION
1st Reading: Numbers 6: 22-27; 2nd Reading: Galatians 4:4-7; Gospel: Luke 2:16-21.
With great joy, I welcome you all to this New Year 2023, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! We thank the Almighty God for the gift of another new year. In a very special way, we dedicate this year to Our Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, whose solemnity we also celebrate today.
Yes, the universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God today. The gift of divine motherhood is the highest summit of all the gifts of grace that 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 Holy Spirit sending the Church into the world. And this was made possible through the role played by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God in her acceptance to be the Theotokos (Mother of God or God’s Carrier), such 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, the mother of Jesus Christ, and the true spouse of the Holy Spirit. Next to Christ, she supplies the most accurate image of the Holy Spirit.
Undoubtedly, 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 due time.
In a certain way, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God unites and mirrors within herself the central truths of faith. Almost like a railroad junction where many lines converge and 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, specifically in 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 that Christ merited are given to us by Mary and the Holy Spirit.
If through faith the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God 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 about 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.
Hence, 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 for the messianic power of her Son to be manifest, that salvaging power that is meant to help humanity in its misfortunes and free her from the evil that, in various forms and degrees, weighs heavily upon her life.
Certainly, 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 an 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, no. 52).
Besides, Mary is already the eschatological fulfillment 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.
Finally, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God is the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and the universe through divine mercy. 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.
Since we have obtained divine mercy and salvation through the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, we must allow her virtues to inspire and influence our lives, both in words and actions, throughout this year, 2023, and beyond. She assures our families and us of her motherly intercession throughout the coming year.
As we begin the year 2023 today, I pray for divine intervention upon those who are looking for Job Opportunities, Traveling Visas or Passports, Promotion in offices, business growth and expansion (1Chronicles 4:10), life Partners (Proverbs. 18:22), Pregnant Women, Seeking for the fruit of the Womb (Psalm 127:3), Sick (Ulcer, Diabetes, Hepatitis, Cancer, those who couldn’t conceive due to Blocked Fallopian Tubes, Mensural Flow problems, infertility, Fibroid, etc.), families under bondages, siege, living in disunity, living in abject poverty (destitute, eking for life…), living in fear, those that lack faith in God, weak in prayer and righteousness, that the Holy Spirit will shatter and level every Goliath or mountain in their lives and families…in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I pray for Divine Mercy, Blessings, Open Doors, Healings, Deliverance, Miracles, Breakthroughs, Promotions, Divine Gifts (Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Piety, Counsel, Fortitude and Fear of God) for you and your entire family. I also pray for the Spirit of Holiness and Purity, Prayer, Humility, Obedience, Self-control, and an increase in Faith so that this year 2023 and beyond, people may begin to see Jesus Christ and Blessed Virgin Mary in your Character, attitude/ behaviour and utterances to the glory of God, in name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.
For further reading on the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, follow the links below:
Dramatized Audio Bible