The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
We can picture the scene described by Luke. Mary, and Joseph are together with the new-born Jesus in the stable. The stable is most likely noisy with all the animals and shepherds that are in it, it is probably also smelly and dirty, as stables usually are. With the arrival of the Shepherds, the stable becomes both crowded and noisy. The shepherds are eager to talk about what they have just seen and heard.
Despite this, there is a strange calm to Mary. Nothing about the conditions they are in seems to bother her. The Holy Family are in very lowly conditions indeed, but Mary hardly seems to notice. The Mother of God has just given birth to Jesus, who lies in the manger. If the stable was smelly or dirty or crowded or noisy, it does not bother her, because her loving heart is completely caught up in the Word made Flesh that lies in the manger. Mary has brought a life into the world, but more than that, she has brought Life itself into the world.
We are accustomed to thinking of how God lowers himself to our level by being born in the flesh and being born in a lowly stable. This is true, but it is also true that in doing this, God sanctifies and elevates one of the most fundamental human experiences: giving birth and motherhood. In doing this, God is saying that these things are truly good. He loves us, and because He loves us, He does not consider it as beneath Him to be born in some smelly, crowded, and noisy barn. It is not beneath him to be born of a women and have a Mother, whose name is Mary. By being born to Mary, God is revealing to us how precious childbirth and motherhood are.
God comes down and becomes one of us. God did not have to come down and be born of Mary, He could have chosen to come in some other way. He could have arrived at the head of a host of angels. But instead He chose Mary, a woman from Nazareth, to bring Him into the world.
Today is the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The women from Nazareth who gave birth out of wedlock gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, the Word made flesh who saves all humankind. Now Mary sits in Heaven higher than the saints, higher than even the angels. So as we go about this new year let us never forget Mary, who followed her vocation by saying ‘yes’ to motherhood and ‘yes’ to Life. The motherhood of Mary is especially relevant for Ireland in this year 2013. Mother of God, Pray for Us!
So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told. When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.