- Numbers 6:22-27
- Galatians 4:4-7
- Luke 2:16-21
Maria autem conservabat omnia verba haec, conferens in corde suo.
Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.
Today is the beginning of a new year, a rejoicing in the secular mind. For us, of course, the year began with Advent, as we reset the clock to “BC” sorta, that we can celebrate all of Salvation History. And then Christ was born and now we celebrate his Mother 8 days after his birth.
The Liturgical Content of this feast (verses, antiphons, etc) are largely unchanged from the older missals when this feast was titled the Circumcision of Our Lord, but here it, the same day and the same Feast under the Title of the Solemnity of the Mother of God. That God needed to be Circumcised is, itself, a marvel. That God has a Mother, too, marvelous.
At no point in his earthly life was Jesus not God – eternally present on the Throne with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And yet.. and yet… born of a woman. All that knowledge, all that wisdom and power, was lost not to mortality, but to the unformed and nascent mind of a newborn. There are no words, there are few connected synapses. Even a Mother’s face is just a shape… a good shape, the only shape he knows. God gave up all that so that in his eyes, for no small period of time, only Mary was all he saw. Only her voice, only her love. He cries, Mommy, please… long before the words are known, are able to be formed, just yell it out and there is feeding.
That’s what it’s like to be a baby. All you have is Crying and Feeding and Pooping.
See how God loves us? Infinite wisdom, infinite power, infinite eternity, in this unformed brain, weak muscles, loud voice, dirty diaper that looks somewhat like Winston Churchill, pardon the anachronism. God loves us that much.
The Epistle today talks about the Spirit of Sonship whereby we, too, may address God as “Abba”. In Hebrew, the word for “Father” is the monosyllabic Av – from whence Avraham, or Abraham. But Abba, in Hebrew, is more like “Daddy.” I’ve been told that in Aramaic it’s reversed – which is fine. Jesus would have spoken Aramaic, but Paul would have made that clear if that were the case here. I’ll stick with Daddy for one reason. There is one other place where the word Abba happens, outside of the letters of St Paul (here and in Romans 8:15). Do you know where it is? It’s not the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus calls him “Father”. It’s not at the raising of Lazarus, again, where Jesus calls him, Father.
It’s in Mark 14:36 in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus calls out Abba! All things are possible for you…
I can’t hear that even now. I didn’t know it was there – or else I had forgotten or even blocked it out – because it makes me cry to hear our Lord say, “Daddy, please…” And sound maybe like a three year old… left alone in the dark for the first time. This is something only humans know. I’ve seen what I imagine to be fear in Animals. But I don’t know if they know who to call out to. To cats or bears in fear call out to their parents? Or just call out in fear in general? Or do they not call out in fear?
Humans do. And it is a sign of our fallen world that the things that scare us the most are darkness and death. These things that are not supposed to be here, against us. But they are here scaring us as a result of the fall.
And here is God who made us all, kneeling in darkness and facing death and saying, “Daddy, please…”
See how much God loves us?
This very human God, unable to live without his Mother’s milk, unable to face the darkness without crying, “Daddy…”
He knows us. He gets us. He is us.
This feast of Mary the Mother of God, is a celebration of her, yes, but it is a truth that her position is about her son – not about her. Her celebration is about him. Mary points us to Jesus. Or, as the Catholic Man Show said a couple of weeks ago, “Aim for Mary, hit Jesus.” That God has a mother is a marvel. She is our mother, too. Let us only see her eyes and let her hear our cries. She will lead us to her Son where we can drink living water and be fed the bread of heaven.