Marian Feast/Saturday Devotion
Homily on the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart (Lk 2:19)
As we enter this new year, let us ponder the title of Mary, Mary Mother of God, and the World Day of Peace.
In the Octave Day of Christmas and beginning of the New Year, it is fitting to celebrate the great Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This very ancient feast dates back to the fifth century when the Council of Ephesus affirmed Jesus’ true divinity and true humanity and as a result also declared Mary to be Theotokos, which is Greek for “God-bearer.” Like all Marian feasts, this Solemnity is the feast of Jesus Christ, for Mary has no privilege that she has not received from God. Since all Marian feasts teach us something about the identity and mission of her Son, Mary directs us to Christ.
Since 1968, at the direction of Pope now Saint Paul VI, the Catholic Church also celebrates January 1 as a World Day of Peace. Linking the celebration of the Mother of God and the World Day of Peace, the Church directs our thoughts to what was proclaimed at the Mass during the Night on Christmas–Jesus, Prince of Peace: “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (Is 9:5). The Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2305 elaborates, “Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic ‘Prince of Peace.’ By the blood of his Cross, ‘in his own person he killed the hostility,’ he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. ‘He is our peace.’ He has declared: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’”
My dear friends, there is no further need to say our world needs peace and our (individual and faith) family needs peace. May Mary lead us to her Son, the Prince of Peace. In fact, with this saying in the Gospel, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19), the Mother of God gives us a key to enter God’s peace. Many artists capture the very essence of this saying of the Gospel in presenting us with the Nativity Set with Mary’s eyes looking contemplatively at the Holy Infant. This is a great lesson for humanity: Only in a relationship with Jesus Christ will our families truly receive the gift of peace. For us Catholics, the best way to deepening our relationship with Jesus is our full, active, and conscious participation in the Holy Eucharist. Our participation in the Eucharist comes to the culmination of Holy Communion, receiving the Prince of Peace who was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Just as “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19) in Holy Communion we receive the Lord into our souls. With Jesus in us, peace reign in our hearts.
May this be our 2022 that the Mother of God directs all of us to Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.