Mary, Mother of God, and Our Mother

Homily for January 1st

by Fr. Tommy Lane

We are very happy today to celebrate the Mother of God. The title “Mother of God” is one of the first titles given to Our Lady. We call her Mother of God, obviously not because God came from her, but because she gave birth to Jesus who is both God and man. The title Mother of God reminds us that Jesus is both divine and human. This is the perfect time to celebrate Mary as Mother of God, reminding us just after we celebrate the human birth of Jesus that Jesus is also divine.

As we reflect on Mary as the Mother of God, we remember that she is not just the mother of God but she became the spiritual mother of each of us as Jesus was dying on the cross and said, “Behold, your mother.” Just as all mothers are present in a special way with their children when they suffer, Our Lady is also present with us always, and especially when we need her. One example of Our Lady’s presence with us is Pope John Paul II whose mother died when he was young and he then took Our Lady as his spiritual mother in a special way. These are the words of Cardinal Ratzinger during the funeral homily for Pope John Paul II:

the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God’s mercy in the Mother of God. He, who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine Mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: “Behold your Mother.” And so he did as the beloved disciple did: he took her into his own home.
(Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger The Legacy of John Paul II: Images and Memories p114)

All during his life, Pope John Paul II felt the guidance of Our Lady as his mother, especially on May 13th 1981 when he was shot in St. Peter’s Square. He said later that one hand fired the shot but a motherly hand guided the bullet’s path, meaning Our Lady guided the bullet away from killing him. In thanksgiving, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Fatima the following year, and that bullet is now in the crown of the statue of Our Lady in Fatima.

Just as Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Fatima to thank Our Lady, we too thank Our Lady in many ways for her intercession helping us. This celebration today is a beautiful way to honor her and apart from today’s celebration, we have two important Holydays, the Assumption of Our Lady on August 15th and her Immaculate Conception on December 8th. We honor her with pilgrimages to her shrines such as Mariazell, Altötting, Lourdes and Fatima. Many churches are named after Our Lady. Another important way in which we thank Our Lady for her intercession for us is to pray the Rosary to her every day. It is a beautiful gift of roses to give to her every day. We know Our Lady loves us and we love her and are happy to venerate her today as Mother of God and our mother also.

© Fr. Tommy Lane 2018

This homily was delivered in Austria

More Homilies for January 1st

Mary, Mother of God 2017

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