One week after having celebrated the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Gospel today is a continuation of the passage we read on Christmas night. Having heard the proclamation by the angels, the shepherds, intrigued and curious, went with haste to see what had happened. After they had narrated to Mary and Joseph of what the angels told them, Mary “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart”. What does this mean?
Throughout the Gospel of Luke, Mary will be presented as the “perfect disciple”. That is why from the start of this Gospel, Luke will gradually show that Mary is beginning to see the plan of God in all that was happening to her. Despite the initial hesitancy when she asked “How can this be?”(Lk 1:34), Mary is beginning to see that nothing is impossible to God (Lk 1:37) and that she is capable of discovering the love of God through all the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.
In spite of just having a baby, standing by her was Joseph, confused but faithful husband, and now the unexpected visitors coming to witness the scene where her family was trying to make do in spite of inhospitable circumstances, in the midst of the chaos, Luke presents to us a calm and collected Mary. With all the uncertainties surrounding her, Mary accepted living with more questions than answers and far more hope than certainties.
We are stepping into a new year and perhaps even happy to leave behind 2020 given the struggles that we have had to deal with this past year. It has been a year of ups and downs, blessings and challenges, laughter and tears, courage and fear. Who would have thought the Vision 2020, launched in 1991, would pan out this way. We certainly have had to reset, realign, relearn, and relook all aspects of our lives.
As we enter into the “unknown” – not knowing what 2021 holds for us, the liturgical celebration at the beginning of this new year provides Mary as a model of faith, more needed than ever. To begin the year by recalling God’s goodness in the maternal face of Mary and in the maternal face of the Church provides us with the assurance of God’s loving presence yesterday, today, and forever.
Our celebration today presents to us Mary not only as a model of faith but also as someone who was not distracted from what really matters – the Saviour of the world, Jesus in the manger. We may ask how can we respond with a faith as firm as Mary’s, never losing trust in God? We can learn by imitating her… when confronted by the unknown, Mary refuses to give in to fear or mistrust. Rather, she reflects deeply and ponders on all the events from the perspective of faith.
As we celebrate the gift of Mary, let us not just admire her for her faith and single-mindedness, we also ask her to intercede for us, especially when confronted with the unknown, rather than allowing fear to engulf us, may Mary point us to her Son, Jesus, the Saviour born to us. Today we celebrate Mary as the Mother of God, but she’s also our mother. She will surely listen to us the way a loving mother listens to her children. Mary, the Help of Christians, pray for us.
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1 Jan 2021)