Mary, the Mother of God

Mary, the Mother of God.

Dear Parishioner,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the young girl upon whom God looked with so much favour.  The gospel narrative gives us a glimpse into how the shepherds don’t simply take the word of the angels that ‘today in the town of David a saviour is born – Christ the Lord’;  rather, they need to experience that for themselves and set out to go to Bethlehem.  It is the word of others that leads on a journey of personal discovery, and in due course they tell others about it.  That is what we mean by evangelization.

It can sometimes go right over our heads when we call Mary ‘Mother of God’ (Theotokos literally means God-bearer).  One of the major controversies in the early church was the question of how precisely the human and divine natures were united in the person of Christ.   It doesn’t bear thinking about too much, I suspect, otherwise we end up in all kinds of unresolvable theological knots. Mary is indeed ‘Christ bearer’ yet she is also ‘God bearer’ and each of these are ways of thinking about how the divine and human become one in the person of Jesus. Perhaps it is sufficient to say that the human nature of Jesus, precisely as human, manifests divinity, and this is part of what we understand by ‘incarnation’ – God becomes flesh in the person of Jesus.  And to call Mary ‘Mother of God’ means that the eternal Word is understood in and through the human Jesus. It is perhaps hardly surprising that the early church struggled much with such abstract ideas.

For most of us, myself included, it is probably sufficient that we struggle at this time of year with the annual dilemma of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ in whatever shape or form that may take.  So do we play the game for the year ahead?  Of course we do and of course we should.  We all know the rituals of New Year’s Eve and we greet the New Year with new attitudes and behaviours: lose weight, give up alcohol,  get fit, less TV, get a dog……and so on. Don’t listen to the person who says:  ‘I don’t make new year resolutions because I don’t keep them.’  That may well be but I would advise we do make them. It matters not whether we keep them in the way in which we originally intended but  we should play the game precisely because our lives are in constant need of renewal.  Every so often we do need to evaluate how we are actually living our lives and having reflected on that, make the necessary adjustments.  So some things we let go, others we embrace.  One writer tells us that ‘the rituals of New Year are rooted in primordial human dynamics.  If we take time to reflect, we can seriously engage them and make them personally meaningful.’  And I can find no better place to start than with the beautiful blessing that comes to us in this Sunday’s first reading from the Book of Numbers: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord let his face shine upon you.

May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.

Amongst all the resolutions we may make and unmake this New Year perhaps this prayer could be the basis of all our encounters. This can be our daily act of evangelization. 

With warm wishes for 2023,

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Holy Spirit Evening

Join us for an Evening exploring Who the Holy Spirit is, the difference the Holy Spirit makes and How to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We will gather in the Benet Bar of the Parish Centre at 7pm.

Get in touch with Daniel Ferguson if you would like to know more –

Thursday 25th April 7pm in the Benet Bar 

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