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Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God

Jesus said to the disciple, "Behold! Your mother." (John 19:27).

This Solemnity beckons us to recall several lessons for our lives.

First, Jesus came to fulfill The Law, and was thus under it through circumcision.

The Evening Prayer Scripture for today recalls Jesus' circumcision. This was the external sign of the covenant Abraham shared with God. The promise was that Abraham's seed would be numbered like the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea. No one foresaw it would be done ultimately not by procreation, but by Baptism which makes us children of God. Christ thus came not to abolish The Law, but to fulfill The Law (Mt. 5). However, as St. Paul argues to the Galatians, this means we don't have to be circumcised, because now we're baptized, which makes us members of the one who is under The Law through circumcision, and fulfilled The Law. As Christians we don't have to have our children circumcised, but we do need to get them baptized! Secondly, this feast reminds us Mary is Mother of God.

1. Mary is the mother of Jesus. 2. Jesus is God. 3. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God. This does not mean Mary "created" God, it simply means she gave birth to him when "The Word became flesh" and was born. She alone bears this title which makes Mary special in The Divine Economy: God's plan for salvation.

Thirdly, Mary is Mother to us. 1. Mary gave birth to the body of Christ. 2. The body of Christ is called "The Church" (Colossians 1, Ephesians 1) 3. Therefore, Mary gave birth to The Church.

Have you been reborn by "spirit and water" in Baptism? This means Mary is your mother too! When Jesus said to John at the foot of the cross, "Behold, your mother!" this applies to any disciple reading The Gospel. Jesus is speaking to you as a reader in that moment and not just to John. Thus Mary has the same title as Eve, "Mother of All the Living," the latter by her seed, the former by Baptism. To be baptized is to be made a member of Jesus: a toenail, a kneecap, a finger, etc. on his body. Since Mary gave birth to his body, when we are made part of his body, she becomes our mother also. You wouldn't say your leg has a different mother than you would you?

Fourth, Mary is the image of The Church. At the Annunciation the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive Jesus. She said, "Let it be done unto me according to thy word." At the moment of that cooperation The Holy Ghost overshadowed her and she conceived. Because The Church is the body of Christ, The Church was thus born in that moment. Because all united to Christ are members of his body, Mary then is the first member of The Church -- the first Christian! This makes her an archetype for all Christians and thus an image of The Church (imago ecclesia). This means wherever we find reference to The Church in Scriptures, we may also read it as applying mysteriously to Mary! E.g. Ephesians 5:27 says The Church as bride is to be presented "without blemish" (immaculata), thus we may say it is a reference to Mary's own immaculateness.

Fifth, Mary is Mediatrix Because Mary is a chosen vessel to bear he who is the source of all grace, she has become a vehicle for grace. Because Christ is fully human and is under The Law by his circumcision, he fulfills the command to "honor thy mother" in reference to Mary. Thus Jesus listens honorably to his mother's request. Ask his mother, our mother, your mother for help and she can intercede for you to her son! Hail Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners,

now at at the hour of our death. Amen.

To Jesus, through Mary, Gregory Tipton

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