Two reflections on this feast that we celebrate today: Mary, Mother of God:
1. Naming Mary the Mother of God means that Jesus is the Son of God. The incarnation (God becoming man) means that God dwells with us . At the Council of Ephesus in the 4th Century the raging debate was trying to answer the question: how can Jesus be both God and Man. Some were saying that Jesus was not really God but the Council disagreed and declared that Jesus was consubstantial (of the same substance) of the Father. By declaring that Mary is the Mother of God they were making a radical theological statement: He was not just some prophet or good person, Jesus was truly God. He took on our human nature and came to be with us. Why did God do this? St. Athanasius says that “God became man so that man might become like God”. Because Jesus took on our nature He opened up for us a path to Heaven that was not there before. As a result the whole world is charged with God’s presence (like static electricity) through which we can encounter God and bring about the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.
-Where do I see God’s presence around me? Within me?
-Does believing that God became man change how I see or interact with the world?
2. Do what Mary did--Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. These words from today’s Gospel offer us a powerful image: Mary at age 13 ponders shepherds, magi, prophesies and the newborn child that she is holding who is the Son of God. Mary needed time to reflect on the wonder and mysteries of God that had taken place. After celebrating the birth of Jesus (and beginning a new year) we too need to set aside (concretely!) time to allow our hearts and minds the time to wonder at the work of God in our lives and to reflect on what we are to do and (more importantly) who we are to be as a result.
-Am I the kind of person I want to be? That I was created to be?
-Do I believe that God has a plan for me? Am I really trying to listen to what God might be telling me?