Mary pondered on the past events, the words of the angel, Elizabeth, shepherds, and kept them in her heart. She did not react to the events, but she searched for the meaning in her heart. The heart is the most important human organ in the human body. In Jewish literature, heart is considered the ‘seat of wisdom, thoughts, intentions and feelings,’ therefore, we can draw one meaning that Mary with her entire existence pondered on the past events and words. St. John Eudes said that “Mary, before conceiving Jesus in her womb, conceived Him in her heart,” which means she accepted the divine plan of God with threefold human capabilities: 1. With memory: she remembered all the things of the past, 2. With affections: She gave priorities to the events, words and made a place for them in her heart, and 3. With ponder: she found the meaning in her life.
I believe that each Marian feast does not only focus on Mary’s humility and service, but it highlights the teaching of Jesus Christ. Mary does not seek her glorification, but she calls us to go to Jesus and to listen (obey) to Him faithfully. Today’s solemnity of Mary as God bearer (Theotokos) is the most important dogmatic anchor of our faith. This honorific title Theotokos is the fruit of the Council of Ephesus 431 CE. In this Council the teaching of the Patriarch of Constantinople, namely, Nestorius was condemned. The bishop of the Constantinople (present Turkey) believed and taught that Mary is the Christotokos (Christ bearer) rather than Theotokos (God bearer) but the Church from her very being believed “...One whom she [Mary] conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence, the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos)” (CCC. par. 495). We have also read and heard in today’s second reading (Gal: 4: 4-7) that “when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son. He came, born of woman...,”which means Son is Jesus Christ and mother is Mary.
Mary is the mother of Jesus,
Jesus is Christ [Messiah],
Therefore, Mary is the mother of the Christ [Messiah].
Mary received, kept and pondered on the WORD in her heart and became the God bearer. Jesus Christ invites each of us ‘For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother, (Matthew 12: 50) to participate in the motherhood of Mary by hearing the Word, keeping the Word in our hearts and acting accordingly to witness the Mercy [Jesus] in our day to day life.
Pope Francis said that “Christ is the face of the Father’s Mercy,” and Mary is the first creature who experienced the divine mercy in her heart and life. She did not limit this divine mercy to herself but got up and shared it with her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth, who was worried or could be living in shame due to her old age pregnancy, had felt the presence of divine mercy in Mary’s womb and proclaimed “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb…when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy,” (Luke 1: 43-44). Mary continued her mission and introduced the face of Mercy in the wedding at Cana (John 2: 1-12) and still today she is carries her mission.
Mary, who carried the spiritual and the physical Word in her heart and womb, is a perfect example of God bearer as we hear the Word of the Lord and receive the Eucharist. We are also encouraged by the Father of Mercy to reach those people who are in different problems, facing discrimination, persecution in society and sharing with them the Mercy of the Father as Mary did in her entire life.
May Mary the merciful advocate of the church and of Christian, pray for us.