Homily for Feast of Mary Mother of God

posted Dec 29, 2015, 3:09 PM by Church Office   [ updated Dec 29, 2015, 3:09 PM by Michelle Massung ]

      Normally when I prepare my Sunday homily, I take time to read the readings for this Sunday and sit and reflect on how these readings impact me and what message they  say to me as a way of changing me. Well I have to be honest with you, this week I found it very difficult to have the readings move me in such a so that I could prepare a homily. Maybe because of all the work that went into the Christmas holiday last weekend, or because I took a few days of vacation to spend relaxing with my family.  As I continued to reflect on the gospel and the feast day, it struck me that I am not really qualified or am  the right person to adequately express the meaning of this day because of one simple fact; I have never been a mother or even a father. As a result of this fact, in my opinion, any of you mothers or grandmothers in the congregation could do a better job of explaining what it is like to be Mary, Mother of God. So far we have heard her chosen as the mother and was conceived without Original Sin. Then we heard from the Angel Gabriel that she was going to bear a son, even though she was a virgin. And then she was to name him Jesus which means the “God saves.”  Then 9 months later, after she gives birth to the baby Jesus, she is visited by shepherds, giving praise and glory to the baby. Please let me point out that she received messages from God through the angel and also from ordinary people, the shepherds.  This leads me to focus on the part of the gospel that I really can't relate to,  the line “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Only a mother can relate to the events of being pregnant, delivering a child, and then presenting them as an offering to God. However, what does it mean to ponder?  The word means to reflect deeply, meditate, to bring to a prayer-like state of thought. Mary clearly had experienced a variety of messages, yet kept all of them in her heart.  In the same way, when we bring our prayers to her, she ponders them in her heart and then acts upon them like she did in agreeing to become the mother of Jesus, in helping her cousin Elizabeth and at the wedding feast at Cana.

Mary rarely speaks in the Gospels but when she does, her words are very impactful. To me, her actions speak much louder than her words. For us, she is the model of humility and a life of service to God, especially when she is in conversationwith the angel Gabriel and her cousin Elizabeth announcing the conception of her son. She is also a model for us in intercessory prayers when she acts on behalf of the bridegroom and bride at the wedding feast in Cana, the passage that clearly shows that we should pray to Mary with our intentions.

Let's be honest, when you were growing up and you wanted something from your parents such as borrowing the car or a few dollars to go shopping, if you asked dad and he said no, what would you do? You would go to your mother and plead your case with her. More often than not, she could soften dad up and he would relent and grant your request. I believe the same holds true with Mary and Jesus. He loves her so much and does not want to disappoint her by turning down her requests. 

However it is in her silence that I take comfort and solace. Although she witnesses his many great miracles, we never hear her boast of her son's accomplishments. When he is being ridiculed she doesn't run to his defense and when he suffers and dies, she shares in that suffering as only a mother can. So how should we relate to Mary on her feast day? Well we are called to treat her with the utmost respect because she truly is the mother of God and if she is the mother of God, she is our spiritual mother. We should turn to her in our needs just like we turned to our natural mother. We should develop a close relationship with her just like we develop a close relationship with her son; not as a substitute but because it is easy to relate to her like we relate to our own mothers.

            For example my mother was loving and kind, yet would not let me stray too far off course in my life. She gently guided me back and challenged me to stay on track. Mary can do the same for us in our spiritual lives, She can be our model and guide if we follow her example of humble service to God and others in our lives without calling attention to ourselves by our actions. She can help to answer our prayers when we may feel that Jesus is not listening to us.

            Today we honor Mary, the Mother of God and our mother. Let us use her as a model of how we are to live out our lives as disciples of her son; as humble servants of the Lord and our fellow man. And when we need help in this capacity we can turn to Mary for help and guidance. She may be God’s mother but she is also our mother. I encourage all of us to develop a deep relationship with her and in doing so we will also grow closer to her son. Happy New Year and may the Lord bless you and keep you, may his face shine upon you in this new year of 2016.