Friends, I wish you a happy, blessed and a fruitful New Year. We come here today not just because we want to welcome the New year (2012) joyfully and to celebrate this new year with the Lord through this Eucharist. We come here as a Church that celebrates the Motherhood of Mary. It is just fitting that this solemnity is observed a week after the birth of the Son of God. It must really be so because Mary was the one chosen by God to be the mother of his own Son. It is also proper that we celebrate her motherhood not only because she is the Mother of God but also because she is the Mother of us all.
While reflecting on the motherhood of Mary as the Mother of God and our mother, I remember this Jewish proverb that speaks so much on the importance and the dignity of mothers. It says: ‘God could not be everywhere, and therefore, He made mothers.’
‘When God created mothers’, so the story goes, ‘it was well overtime on the sixth day. An angel dropped by and commented, ‘Lord, you are taking your time over this creature!’
God replied, ‘You should see the special requirements in the specification! She has to be easy to maintain, but not made of plastic or have any artificial components. She has one hundred and sixty movable parts, and nerves of steel, with a lap big enough for ten children to sit on it at once, but she herself has to be able to fit into a kiddie’s chair. She has to have a back that can carry everything that is loaded onto it. She has to be able to mend everything, from a grazed knee to a broken heart. And she’s supposed to have six pairs of hands…and three pairs of eyes.’
‘I think you should go to bed now, Lord, and get some sleep,’ said the angel.
‘I can’t do that,’ said God. ‘I’m almost there. I have nearly created a being who heals herself when she’s ill, who can delight thirty children with one little birthday cake, who can persuade a three-year-old not to eat clay, a six-year –old to wash his hands before meals and a nine-year-old to use his feet to walk and not to kick.’
‘Can she think?’ asked the angel.
‘Not only think, but reach wise judgments and essential compromises,’ said God. ‘And she can do more than that. She can forget!’
Friends, this might just be an anecdote but it speaks a grain of truth – that being a mother demands she be a jack of all trades so to speak.
I have to admit I have never been acting like a mother nor I’m wishing to be. But I understood that being a mother requires she would go beyond herself most of the time if not all the time.
As the mother of God, Mary is no exception. She also had to go beyond herself. She also had to take the huge and irreplaceable responsibility of a mother to her child. Even before her child was born, Mary had to get out of her comfort zones in order to become that amazing meeting point between the Human and the Divine. ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ she asked the angel when he told her she’s going to be pregnant. Though confused, she kept trusting and believing. So she said in the end: ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.’ She remained faithful even if she really didn’t understand everything that’s been happening in her. Heavy with child, she took the long trip with Joseph to Bethlehem to follow the order of the Emperor to register. Without prior bookings, she had to give birth in the stable of animals. Without proper clothes for the newly-born child, she had to wrap him with a swaddling clothes. Without proper bed, she had to lay him on the manger. And our gospel today tells us of Mary’s reaction to all that have happened to her: ‘She treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.’
As the baby grows, she had to look after Jesus with Joseph. They would present him to the temple. They would look for him when he was left in Jerusalem. Later on she would tell the servants in the wedding at Cana to do everything that Jesus, her son would tell them to do. Then towards the end of Jesus’ earthly life, she would accompany him on the way of the cross.
As a mother, she walked with Jesus from her womb to the tomb. She went out of herself to allow God to fulfil his will not only for her but for the salvation of all.
In this she became our mother. She is our mother because through her our saviour was born. Through her we are able to see in person the face of God. Through her we are able to see what God is like. Through her, we have experienced the graciousness and the unconditional love of God. In Mary, the 3 thousand year old prayer of blessing as we have heard in our first reading today, was definitely answered. In and through Mary, we have encountered our Lord who let his face shine on us and who is gracious to us. And through Mary, God has sent his Son, to be born a subject of the law according to St Paul in our Second Reading today, to redeem us as the subjects of the law and to enable us adopted sons of and daughters of God.
We have received abundant graces from God through the intercession of Mary, who went out of herself by saying her ‘yes’ to the will of God, thus making her the Mother of His Son and also the mother of us all.
So as we continue our celebration of the Eucharist today as well as to welcome this New Year, let’s thank Mary for accepting the will of God even if it meant for her going out of herself and to walk an extra mile. Pondering on Mary’s motherhood, let us also pray that God’s graciousness and blessings would be poured upon us all for this New year and that we may learn to listen well and reflect more on the will of God for each and everyone of us. Lastly, let’s ask Mary’s intercession that we may grow in love and we get closer to her son everyday- since Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.
And my prayer for you this New Year:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace. Amen.