Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
This feast has had several names through history. Most recently, it was called the Feast of the Circumcision and then the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. The Church finally settled on a more ancient title, Mary, the Holy Mother of God. It also has a secondary title of the Octave of Christmas, the secular title of New Years Day, and an honorary title of World Day of Prayer for Peace. Strangely, the title that is most confusing to non-Catholics is the official one.
When we call Mary the Mother of God, we are not saying that she somehow preceded God or is equal to God. We are simply recognizing that her human son Jesus is also the divine Son of God. We honor Mary because God honored her by choosing her to be the mother of Jesus. In her humble response of “let it be done to me,” she agreed to be part of God’s plan for our salvation. And so today’s Gospel records one simple action of Mary: to keep these things in her heart.
Even in this simple sentence we are given a good example of being a disciple. Like Mary, we need to both keep, or remember, what God has done, and to reflect on what we remember. First, how much do we remember about what God has done for us? How well do we know the stories of salvation found in the scriptures? How well do we know God’s actions in Church history? And how much do we remember of the personal graces given us by God? Do we recall the prayers God has answered, the guidance given, the love of God that others have shown us, the times God has forgiven us?
Second, how much do we reflect on what God has done? Even if we have many memories of God’s goodness to us, we also need to pray over them and ask ourselves how we have changed because of what God has done. Am I more generous to others? Do I forgive hurts more readily? Do I share my faith with my family or friends? Do I support my parish with my time or offerings? Let us ask God’s help to imitate Mary by remembering and reflecting.