by: Sem. Azam Vianney Mansha
Today with the Mother Church, we are celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos). This Solemnity is an appropriate way to begin a new year 2018 with the motto ‘Through Mary to Jesus!’ (words from St. John Eudes). If we truly want to know Jesus, we need to learn from Mary. She is the only human being who stayed with her only Son in his entire life (Luke 1: 26-2: 52; John 2; 1-11; 19: 25-27). We cannot separate Mary from Jesus and Jesus from Mary.
Monsignor Arthur Tonne tells the story of a Catholic pastor in a small Alabama city of mostly Southern Baptist Christians who decided to put up a Christmas crib in the town square. The priest with some of his prominent parishioners approached some rich people and businesses for donation. When they went to see the rich editor of the local newspaper the priest explained the project: “Many people, especially the children will be inspired to see Jesus, Mary and Joseph and animals right here in the center of the town.” The editor agreed to help on condition that Mary must be left out. Otherwise, it would be promoting your Catholic denomination. The priest said: “Tell you what. Tell me how you can show a birth without a mother, and I will agree to leave Mary out.” The editor had no answer and the Mother was with her Child in the town square (Source: “Feast of Mary, Mother of God—January 01, 2017” homilies of Fr. Anthony Kadavil).
St. Luke tells us that ‘‘Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart’’ (Luke 2: 19). What things and why pondering? It would be appropriate to see the biblical context of ‘pondering.’ Mary’s action of pondering is a core of the Jewish faith (Plaut, W. Gunther and David E.S. Stein, The Torah: A Modern Commentary (New York: the Jewish Publication Society, 1981), 1369). It was the commandant from the LORD ‘Shema O Israel’ (Deuteronomy 6:4) which has twofold meaning. First, it was a reminder to the Israelites that always remember that what God has done for you in Egypt and second, be obedient to the LORD who is ‘ehad (ONE and ALONE). Mary as a faithful Jew is pondering on the goodness of the LORD and things which the LORD has began in her life, such as: arrival of angel Gabriel, ‘Hail, full of grace’ (Luke 1: 26-28); favor with God (1: 30); the Mother of the Most High and restoration of the Kingdom of David (1: 31-35); pregnancy of Elizabeth in her advance age (1: 36); the words of Elizabeth ‘Blessed are you among woman, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’ (1: 42). Indeed, she pondered and thanked the LORD for her entire life (Luke 1: 46-56).
Mary’s action of pondering calls us for two things:
- To hear: Mary was open to hear the voice of the LORD through the angel Garbriel (Luke 1: 26-38; Elizabeth (Luke 1: 41-45); the Shepherds (Luke 2: 8-18); the Wise Men (Matthew 2: 10-12); Simeon (Luke 2: 25-35); prophetess Anna (Luke 2: 36-38). Indeed, Mary faithfully heard the voice of the LORD in her entire life (John 19: 26). We can learn from Mary to hear the voice of the LORD in our day to day life. We can hear the voice of the LORD through the Mother Church and our family members or friends.
- Ever ready to accept: Mary was virgin (Luke 1: 27b) and does not man (1: 34). If Mary is agree to be the virgin mother, then she has to face the cultural and religious discrimination (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Mary went beyond all the cultural and religious boundaries and surrendered herself before the Divine plan of God (Luke 1: 38). For Mary to accept the Divine Will of the LORD is more important than own life. As Mary was every ready to accept the Divine Will in her entire life so we are too encouraged to imitate the example of Mary. Let’s never forget that Mary is truly our sister (Elizabeth Johnson) and helps us to follow.