Homily January 1st, 2023

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of GodLk 2:16-21

Today we celebrate the octave of the Nativity of our Lord; it’s fitting that on the 8th day after the Savior of the world was born in time, we should celebrate yet another great gift we’ve received from God the Father. He not only gave us His Son, but also His Son’s mother to be our mother. This implies two things: first, Mary’s great love for us, and second, that that love isn’t idle. It means that she intercedes for and helps us.

The gift of Mary is no small thing, and the saints have a way of reminding us just how much Mary loves us. Saint Therese of Lisieux didn’t hesitate to remark that Mary “is more Mother than Queen,” and Saint John Vianney commented that “Mary’s heart is so loving toward us that the hearts of all other mothers taken together are but a piece of ice in comparison.”[1] Saint Alphonsus Ligouri is even more blunt when he writes: “Just as there is not one among all the blessed who loves God as Mary does, so there is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving mother does. Furthermore, if we heaped together all the love that mothers have for their children, all the love of husbands and wives, all the love of all the angels and saints for their clients, it could never equal Mary’s love for even a single soul.”

This love, however, isn’t simply a nice feeling or pious sentiment; it gives rise to action. This means, on one hand, helping her children with the temporal needs, be that health, healing, consolation, and other difficulties. We only need to look at the various Marian apparitions at Lourdes, Knock, and so many others to be convinced of the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego: “Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. Do not fear this sickness . . . or any other sickness, nor anything that is sharp or hurtful. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you.” Saint Therese of Lisieux affirmed that “in trial or difficulty I have recourse to Mother Mary, whose glance alone is enough to dissipate every fear.”

However, Mary extends an even greater help than simply aiding us in our temporal needs. “As a mother, [Mary] defends her children and protects them from the harm caused by their own sins,” so that they can obtain eternal salvation.[2] This is the greatest gift she can bestow on us and, as Saint Aelred affirms, because she is the mother of the cause of our salvation, she is to be considered more our mother than our mother according to the flesh. Our earthly mothers gave birth to us in the temporal order, but Mary gives birth to us as adopted sons and daughters.   

Today, as we celebrate the beginning of this New Year and the great gift we have in Mary, we can ask ourselves: how much do we really trust in Mary’s love for us? How much do we ask for her intercession and protection? How confident are we in her care for us? Do we try to live as worthy sons and daughters of so noble a mother, so as to do our mother proud?

Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, let us ask for the grace to turn to her so as to turn more fully and completely to her Divine Son.

[1] Cited in Josemaria, Anthony, FTI. The Blessed Virgin Mary in England: A Mary-Catechism with Pilgrimage to Her Holy Shrines, Vol. 1 (Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2008), 386.

[2] Pope Saint John Paul II, Wednesday Audience of24 September 1997



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