Homily (2) Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, Year ABC: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Mary: Mother of Christ, Source of Peace
On every First January of every year the Church prays for peace, and celebrates the Solemnity of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, mother of Christ the Prince of Peace. Of course, she is our mother too. She is the mother of the Church, clearly confirmed by
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons (and daughters).” This message of Paul was of course foretold by many
’s prophets- Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zephaniah- during Advents! Israel
By Baptism we are all brothers and sisters of Christ, and children of God. At the Morning Mass, yesterday, you will recall, we were all being addressed as children of God in 1 John 2:12-17. And as adopted children we are part and parcel of the Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph which we also celebrated few days ago.
Days and weeks from now we will begin to bring down the Christmas trees, and undo those decorations in our home. One thing we do not want to forget is that the Birth of Christ brought peace and redemption to our homes, and into the world. Everyone acknowledges this, including the Angels who sang that song with which we began this worship with: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill.” the shepherds of Israel (Luke 2:16-21), the prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna in the Gospel reading of yesterday (Luke 2:36-40) also spoke about this Prince of Peace to everyone, to those who were awaiting and hoping for the redemption of
On this day of the World Day of Peace, Mary is extolled as the mother of Christ the Redeemer, the Prince and source of Peace, for several reasons. Let me mention a few. At the annunciation, Mary peacefully said to Angel Gabriel, “I am the Handmaid of the Lord be it done to me according to your Word” (Luke 1:38). She was not afraid to say yes, and to be opened to the will of God. Never for once was Mary violent and abusive to those who disbelieved her or suspected her pregnancy. She dialogued with the family of Joseph and her family over the divine situation.
In the Gospel reading of today, Mary and Joseph opened their doors and their hearts for the humble poor shepherd (Luke 2:16-21) and for the rich and educated foreign scientists-Magi (Matt 2: 13-23), who visited with them in a manger in
With this, Mary and Joseph prepared Jesus for the ministry of peace,
universalism and inclusiveness of the poor. Jesus of course would grow up to become the champion of peace. Bethlehem
When Jesus stayed back in the
and Joseph did not
freak-out. They anxiously but peacefully searched for Jesus. It is true that we don’t hear much
of what went on in the family of Jesus and Mary and Joseph after the Birth
narrative and Christmas celebrations. I am sure; the shepherd went back to
their sheep. Joseph must have quietly
and peacefully retired to his carpentry worship while Mary was busy changing the diapers
and raising Jesus peacefully, lovingly and virtuously in their poor, but
peaceful home. temple
When we look back on the events of the last year be it in our families, homes, Church, the United Nations, in the Middle East, Africa or in Asia, Europe, North Korea including all the wars, trains derailing here and there, the natural tragedies, the hurricane sandy, the typhoons in the Philippines, the shootings and terrorist acts in our nations’ schools, movie theaters and religious centers, and other part of the world- recently in Russia- the rough politics, health-care debate, government shut down, social and economic difficulties-we need peace more than ever, in the world today.
Jesus, the Son of Mary is the source of this Peace (Shalom). He alone can heal us. He alone can heal our nations of our weaknesses, selfishness, our divisiveness, our doubts and skepticisms. He alone can give us that wholeness, that friendship, that sense of justice, that sense of oneness, that community spirit, that forgiving spirit, that Christian love and charity that we all need.
The priceless Peace, which Jesus the Son of Mary brings is a grace and blessing! This peace was among the blessings that God gave to“May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”
, through Aaron in the first
reading (Num 6:22-27). Blessing Israel ,
Aaron said: Israel
I have received so many cards and greetings from you! One of my cards reads,
“Fr. Michael I can’t believe today is the last Sunday of the Year. I am very grateful to God for all his blessings and graciousness upon me, my family, especially my grandchildren this past Year 2013. Thank you for leading us to such a spiritual pilgrimage to Fatima,
Like the person who sent me this card, January first/tonight is not just the night we watch balls drop at Times Square, it is a night/ day we look back and count our blessings that God has blessed us with(dropped upon us) in the past year: Life, family, jobs, clothing over our nakedness, roof over our health, food, soda, candies, cookies, ice cream, transportation, the security in our nations, the gifts of faith, the gift of the Catholic Church, the gift of our New Pope, the gift of Nelson Mandela, the gifts of our Bishops, the gift of our Pastor, priests and Deacons, our parents, teachers, the gifts of our volunteers and parish staff, the gifts of the Knights of the Church, the Columbiates, the choir, our trustees, and various pious groups here in our Parish; the gifts of our jobs.
Today is also the day we say to ourselves “Happy New Year!” in various languages. With this we are indirectly making New Year resolutions- wishing and promising ourselves every good thing in the New Year, including Happiness of which Christ, the Son of Mary is the ultimate source.
We wish ourselves peace (shalom), trust, hope and faith in God. We wish ourselves good health. We wish ourselves the grace to forego bad habits. We wish ourselves greater respect for the dignity of the human person, greater sense of social justice and respect to the fundamental human rights of every person, men, women and children including the poor, the seniors and those at the margin of the society; the right to practice and treasure the Catholic faith, the right to wear cross, and crucifixes, the right to pray publicly without being ashamed of your faith and religion. It is a year we want to continue to pray for the souls of our loved ones gone before us marked with the sign faith.
As we begin a New Year, may Mary the Mother of God, Mother of the Church, intercede for us so that we may be blessed with lasting peace, and joy in the Lord.
And May “The Lord bless you and Keep you! May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace” in this New Year (Num 6:22-27)!