Feast of Mary Mother of God
Fr. Paul Patrick, O.M.I.
Posted: December 31, 2020
1.0 Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
Today in the Catholic Church we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God while at the same time around the world, we celebrate New Year’s Day. The title “Mother of God” is a translation of the Greek word Theotokos which literally means “the Bearer of God” Thus, today we are reminded of the role which Mary, the Mother of God, played in our salvation.
The reason why we venerate Mary as Mother of God is precisely because by her co-operation with God’s plan for her, she brought salvation to the entire world in the form of Jesus Christ. Mary remains an excellent model for us in our daily struggle to give our ‘yes’ to God and follow His plan for us in our own personal lives.
When we think about the life of a great person who has passed on, oftentimes we use this phrase to describe them: “That person’s life was a blessing to others” Mary, Mother of God’s life was indeed – a blessing to others.
2.0 First Reading and a Blessing
In the First Reading (Numbers 6:22-27) we hear a beautiful blessing which the Lord gives to His people through Moses. This ancient Jewish blessing is generally referred to as the Priestly blessing and consists of 3 parts. “The LORD bless you and keep you. (1) The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. (2) The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (3) (cf. Numbers 6:24)
The first part contains a word in Hebrew “Yeesh’merecha” translated as “keep you” but also has many meanings including “guard” “save” and “protect” The second and third parts contain an idiom in Hebrew “‘The LORD make His face to shine upon you/lift up His countenance upon you” which means that a person will benefit from God’s goodness to them. The blessing ends with a wish for peace.
3.0 Being a Blessing for Others
Blessings should be understood in this two-fold way: God fills us with his graces so that, like Mary, Mother of God, we in turn go out and make a difference – or be a blessing – in the lives of others. Blessings are not mere pious images to comfort us, but they are actual moments where God fills us with His graces, and in return, God expects that we spread that blessing among everyone we meet in our lives, both those we love, and those we dislike (cf Matthew 5:43-44)
Let 2021 be a year in which, having received the blessing of God, we cast aside bitterness, anger, disillusion, hatred, division, and in its place substitute the blessing, peace and love of God.
“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.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Happy New Year and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!