Let us make haste to God
Bishop Peter Muhich
Homily from the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
December 31, 2022
Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.
My greetings also go out to all those who are viewing this Mass via live stream. You’re in our hearts and prayers as we celebrate these sacred days of the Christmas season.
The liturgies of Christmas are beautiful. They help us to take in the enormity of what we celebrate at this time of the year. In the fullness of time God sent his son to be our savior. In order to save us God’s son became incarnate, one of us, and was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today’s feast during his Christmas cycle of feasts focuses our attention on the blessed mother Mary. The mother of God’s son, and thus properly called the mother of God, for she bore in her womb God’s son and our savior, providing the Lord Jesus with human nature, a spotless human nature since she was immaculately conceived and lived sinlessly throughout her discipleship.
On this Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, we are reading once again from St. Luke’s Gospel. It’s the same passage we were reading from on Christmas night and Christmas morning. There are three words we need to consider during our celebration for this solemnity and Christmas. Those three words are in haste, amazed, and treasure.
They are actually three fundamental words or concepts, realities for a disciple’s life. Let’s take a look at them one at a time. First haste. St. Luke tells us the shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and an infant lying in a manger. Their movement echoes Mary who in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth during her pregnancy. The scripture has shown this haste, or movement, again and again and again. All biblical figures who encounter the living God, who open their hearts to him, are called to mission. They heed God’s call, and they move. They act — Abraham, Moses, the prophets, all the figures in the Old Testament. And the shepherds move to. They make haste to go and share the good news they’ve received from the angels. Haste. Disciples make haste to do God’s will.
The second word astonished, or amazed. St. Luke tells us that people were amazed by what the shepherds told them about this child. Yes, you and I find God in ordinary things and events. Family life. Work. Our friends. The natural beauty, but Christianity is not a natural religion, finding signs of the sacred only in the natural order. God has entered into human history and shown us marvelous things. He created everything out of nothing by speaking his perfect world. He revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the others who proceeded in Christ in the Old Testament and acted through them in powerful ways. And in the fullness of time, he sent his son to the world to become one of us. Being born as a baby. That’s astonishing. That God acts in human history to show us his love. Our faith depends on these astonishing, amazing things. And it’s very important to pay attention to them and to catch their power. It will be very hard for you and me to evangelize others if we don’t get this. The question for each of us, as we celebrate our Christmas season is, have we lost our sense of astonishment at the great deeds of the Lord, especially the coming of his son.
So, haste. Amazement. Then the third word treasure. St. Luke tells us that the blessed mother kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. She who went from haste, who was astonished at God’s jubilation, also treasures these things. In this way, Mary is the model for theologians, turning over again and again, in their minds God’s mighty deeds. Certainly, Pope Emeritus Benedict is a great example, in his fruitful theology throughout the years. And if he were here, he would agree, the blessed mother is a model for theologians.
She’s also the model, in this way, of the disciples. We should always ponder the things God has done and let them shape their lives, your way of thinking and acting. As we treasure what God has said and done for us in his son, Jesus Christ, new dimensions, the spiritual life open up before us. They’re in-exhaustible. For amazement should lead to reflection for he hasn’t been silent, and he’s broken into human history. In the fullness of time, spoken his perfect word to us in his son who brings us the fullness of revelation revealing to us all we need to know about ourselves and all we need to know about God.
So, as we celebrate these Christmas feasts, let us make haste to God who has drawn closer to us in Jesus. Let us be amazed again and what he has done for us. Let us treasure these things in our hearts, like the blessed mother. As we do that, the deep and rich meaning of Christmas can shape our lives and make us into effective disciples.
So, the keys: make haste, be amazed and treasure these things into your heart.
Have a merry Christmas and happy new year.