Openness, faith, confidence, and trust
Father Dan Juelfs
Homily from the Televised Mass, NewsCenter1
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, January 1, 2023
Today, we gather to celebrate the feast of Mary, the mother of God, proclaiming that role of Mary in our salvation history as the mother of our redeemer. The mother of the son whom the father has sent among us to proclaim our salvation.
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, describes in a sense the process of how this comes about. God sent his son, born of a woman, to ransom us from the law so that we might become adopted children. No longer slaves but children. Heirs to God. Sharers in the life of God, the life that God makes present the person of his son.
That’s a bit overwhelming to grasp. It’s a bit overwhelming to comprehend all of those things. The reality of how God has gone about proclaiming to us his care and his mercy, his desire. Recognizing the reality of our sinfulness but choosing not to let it stop us from becoming one with him but choosing to provide forgiveness.
All of this is made possible through the openness, through the faith, the confidence, the trust that Mary had. Being able to accept that role of being the mother of the one the father was sending into the world. Not an easy task and certainly demanded a great deal of confidence, of faith, an awareness of the reality of who God was and what God wanted to do for his people.
Over the centuries we’ve developed a variety of terms, or a variety of ways of talking about the role of Mary or describing Mary if you will. We use a variety of terms such as the blessed one, the one whom God has chosen, set apart for a particular place and a particular role. We describe her as the new Eve. The one who provides a newness of life that was lost when the original Eve sinned, when the original Eve turned away from the direction, the commandment that God has given to them and chose to do something different.
Those terms, those descriptions help us in some ways to comprehend, to understand what is going on. It gives us a beginning understanding of the person of Mary and what God asked of her.
That whole process of salvation didn’t begin with Mary per say, it began with the father obviously, but it was possible because of Mary’s yes. Because of her willingness to take on that role. Her willingness to be the mother of the Messiah, the mother of the son of God. And so today as we gather for this celebration, we take the opportunity to recognize, acknowledge that role of Mary and to offer thanks for her willingness. Not only her willingness but her example to all of us. To be open to what it is that God asks of us, and oftentimes being caught as much almost by surprise as Mary was, and yet trusting and believing that yes, God has a place, a role for all of us.
Mary was the blessed one set aside for that particular role. But we must not forget how God has looked upon all of us from fairly early on in salvation history. We heard in the first reading, the command that God gives to Moses to tell Aaron, to give that direction to Aaron, as to how he’s supposed to bless his people. How he’s supposed to share God’s blessings with those who are following them.
As a church, we continue to make God’s blessings present, continue to remind ourselves and each other that we are blessed by God, and that in that blessing we’re called to share in his work, to share in the task that God has put forward to bring salvation to all of us.
As we begin this new year, we begin it every year, with that blessing of Aaron, that first reading that we had. The directions that Moses gave to Aaron, as to this is how you bless your people. ‘May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine upon you and grant you his peace, and may the Lord look upon you kindly and be gracious to you.’”
As we begin this new year may all of us receive that blessing with confidence. Receive that blessing realizing the role in the dignity that needs to each of us, as he calls us to share in his work of salvation.