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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Theotokos: Mary's "Yes!" Brings Us Jesus

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1, 2016
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

As we celebrate today’s Mass on this New
Theotokos, Greek for Mother of God 
Year for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, let us call upon the intercession of Mary, Our Mother, to protect us and Her Church.
Today’s celebration goes back to the year 431 at the Council of Ephesus where it was declared as official doctrine that Mary is the Mother of God. Yet, this teaching of Mary as Mother of God, has been in the heart of our Church even before it was declared officially. 

The doctrine is in the writings of the early Church Fathers who recognized the sacred truth and great gift of Divine maternity that was bestowed upon Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord. In fact, even the
catacombs, which are dug under the city of Rome, where the first Christians gathered to celebrate Mass in times of persecution, there are paintings by this name: "Mary, Mother of God."

In today’s second reading to the Galatians 4:4-7, Saint Paul says that
“[in] the fullness of time God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” 

Therefore, Saint Paul tells us that by being born of a woman, under the law, the Son of God participates in the human condition. He is one of us because of Mary. 

Mary, in a way, can be seen as a bridge between God and humanity. It is through her that the divinity of Jesus enters into our world so that we can share in the life of God. 

God has come in the flesh, in our humanity so that we can share in His divinity! It is through her -- Mary -- that we have been given the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist.

If there was no Mary, we would have no Eucharist. If there was no Mary, there would be no Christmas. With no Mary, we would not have salvation.

Fr. John Paul Shea 
My brothers and sisters, what a blessing it is for us to be Catholic! Today’s celebration is a call for us to rejoice! 

As we begin this New Year of 2016, many in our world do not rejoice. Many live in sorrow and confusion. Many live with no hope. But not us! Today’s celebration gives us hope because it reveals to us God’s plan! 

Through the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, we are no longer slaves of the world, a world that is passing away. No! We are sons and daughters of God! 

Let us be reminded too that as God used Mary to come into our world, so He continues to use Her to protect us from harm and all evil as we prepare for Her Son’s return in glory. 

As we enter into this New Year, let us be prepared for whatever may come. The world will face difficulties. At some point in time, when the struggles reach a climax, the world will come to the realization that it cannot control all its problems on its own. We pray that when this time comes that the powers of today’s world will turn to the only solution to all problems: Our Lord Jesus Christ.

But, as Catholics, we are a step ahead of the world. In fact, we are not of the world. We are sons and daughters of God because God has sent His spirit into our hearts. Let us hold onto this great gift! 

Let us not allow anything to deter our hearts from acknowledging and accepting this gift! And may we call upon our Blessed Mother Mary, Mother of God, to keep us close to her Son and protect us from all harm. Holy Mother of God, pray for us!

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