1st January – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Today is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God (given that Jesus is God!) This is summary of my homily.

virgin-mary-mosaic-hagia-sophia-6796110Jewish mothers have a reputation for being very committed, perhaps even too committed in certain instances. Like the question about what is the difference between a Jewish mother and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist! Jewish mothers know best and it has to be their way. What is the difference between a Jewish mother and a Rottweiler? A Rottweiler eventually lets go! Jewish mothers never let go, are with their children as part of a life vocation.

We are privileged to have Mary as our special Jewish mother but without any rough edges because she was conceived without Original Sin. This has to be true if we are brothers and sisters of her other Son, Jesus. Jesus himself made it clear when in one of the Seven Last Words he said to the Beloved Disciple (St John but by extension ALL beloved disciples) “Behold your mother”.

One saint who had a special devotion to Mary was John Paul II. The motto of his pontificate was the Latin phrase TOTUS TOUS meaning totally yours with regard to Mary. In this way he could all the more belong totally to Jesus because this is the role of Mary’s motherhood in our lives.

St John Paul saw that it was Mary’s intercession that saved his life from the assassin’s bullet on 13th May 1981, the anniversary of her first appearance to the Fatima children. Something of his devotion to her is shown in his repetition of MARY MY MOTHER while he was being driven to hospital after being shot. After he recovered he made a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Fatima and placed the bullet that had so narrowly missed his heart in the crown of her statue there. Speaking of the bullet, he said: One hand fired it while another hand guided it.

The most common way to invite Mary into our life as mother is to commit to praying the Rosary ever day as she asked at Fatima. When we pray the Rosary we shouldn’t just repeat the OUR FATHER, HAIL MARY and GLORY BE prayers. In the background of our minds we should be meditating  / reflecting on the given mystery or event in Jesus’ life. Praying the Rosary in this way is like driving a car using all 5 gears rather than just driving it in first gear all the time. Furthermore we are imitating Mary in today’s gospel : “And Mary treasured these things (that were happening around her Son with the visit of the shepherds) and pondered them in her heart.” St John Paul asked that we have a passage of scripture to guide our mediation or perhaps a book with an image of the mystery so we can place ourselves in the scene.

To sum up: We are privileged to have Mary as our very own Jewish mother but without any rough edges(!) A special way to deepen our living within this maternity is to pray the Rosary daily whilst meditating on the mysteries of Jesus’ life.

[I directed people to a sheet at the back of the church that had scripture passages for each of the 20 mysteries. I need to do some extra formatting before making it available online, perhaps tomorrow.]