The Solemnity of
Mary, the Holy Mother of God

January 1, 2019 Cycle C
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine,  Washington, D.C.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Mother of God is the most important title attributed to Mary. That this humble creature could conceive her own Creator is the greatest of paradoxes and one of the most sublime mystery.  Dante wrote: “Virgin mother, daughter of your son, More humble and more high than other creatures, The constant goal of the eternal plan.”

We honor Mary’s divine maternity as an act of faith in Jesus’ divinity. We venerate Mary as the Mother of God because she gave birth to Jesus, who is both human and divine. Therefore, we begin the new year with a profession of faith in Christ’s divinity and proclaim the “Word who became flesh,” entering temporality in Mary’s Immaculate Heart, where we encounter God’s light and peace.

We are beginning a new year and the future is ahead of us. Who knows what is going to happen in our personal lives and the world in 2019? In any case, we are at peace because we are children of God: “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Gal 4:6). What child is afraid when he walks hand in hand with the Father? In today’s first reading, Moses blesses the Israelites with these words: “The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Nm 6:25‒6). God’s fatherly and luminous presence fills our hearts with peace.

However, as Saint Cyprian declared: “He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.” We may also say that we cannot have God as our Father without having Mary as our mother because Mary is the figure of the Church. Saint Paul VI wrote: “We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ.” In today’s second reading, Saint Paul says: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman […] so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4‒5.

Today’s Gospel says: “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). Saint Augustine wrote that Our Lady “conceived him [Christ] in her heart before she conceived him in her womb.” Thus, the Eternal entered time through the heart of Mary, forever linking her heart with the history of mankind. Everything returns to God in Our Lady’s Heart, in the center of which is Jesus’ heart. Our Lady’s heart reveals God’s secret heart, the mystery of the Holy Trinity, to us.

In Fatima, Our Lady asked for reparation to her Immaculate Heart through the Devotion of the First Five Saturdays and the Pope’s consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Saint John Paul II fulfilled the latter request on March 25, 1984, and many changes took place in the world.

As we begin the new year, in today’s psalm we pray: “May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us” (Ps 67:1). God’s face shines upon us through the heart of Mary. Let us consecrate the new year 2019 to Mary’s Immaculate Heart: O Holy Mother of God, we entrust all the days of this year to your maternal tutelage. May your Immaculate Heart bring God’s light and peace to our lives.  Amen.

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