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Saturday, December 31, 2016

At The Heart of the Church from the Beginning: Mary Mother of God

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, Jan. 1, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today our Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. We rarely celebrate
this feast on Sunday, so it is normally a Holy Day of obligation. Now it falls on Sunday, so we celebrate the Mother of God in the Sunday liturgy.

This teaching has been at the heart of the Church even before it was declared official doctrine at the Council of Ephesus in 431. That Mary is the Mother of God can be seen 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 dug under the city of Rome -- where the first Christians gathered to celebrate Mass in times of persecution -- contain paintings titled "Mary, Mother of God."

In today’s second reading (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 Mary that we have been given the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. If there were no Mary, we would have no Eucharist. If there was no Mary, no Christmas. With no Mary, we would have no salvation.

My brothers and sisters, as we come together for this Mass on this holy day of the celebration of Mary, the Mother of God, let us honor our Blessed Mother! 

Let us be reminded that as God used Mary to bring His Son into our world, so God continues to use Mary, the Mother of God, to protect us from harm and evil as we prepare for Her Son’s return in glory. 

Today we begin a new year. Therefore, today’s celebration reminds us that there is no better way to begin then by honoring our Blessed Mother and by seeking Her protection upon us and all humanity. As we enter into this New Year, let us be prepared for whatever may come because we are indeed living in dangerous and uncertain times! 

Our Blessed Mother, herself, has warned us about the difficulties in which we are living today. In fact, this year we are about to enter marks the 100th anniversary of our Blessed Mother’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal.
"Men must amend their lives, and ask pardon for their sins. . . . They must no longer offend Our Lord, Who is already so much offended,” Our Lady warned.

She said to "pray much and make sacrifices for sinners [because] many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them. If men only knew what eternity is, how they would make all possible efforts to amend their lives [and that] mortification and sacrifice give great pleasure to Our Divine Lord."

Our Blessed Mother warned of difficult times coming upon this world if our world does not convert and that nations will even be annihilated because of the spread of sin. Our Blessed Mother taught us to pray the Rosary

for peace for the world. She said, “the Rosary is my Power…It is the weapon which you must make use of in these times of the Great Battle.” 

Fr John Paul Shea
My brothers and sisters, our Blessed Mother’s message of Fatima to pray the Rosary and make sacrifices is more important today than ever! Our world is facing many struggles today and, at some point in time, probably sooner than later, these struggles will reach a climax. We will reach the peak of the tribulation that our world has already entered.

Yet, we are promised that in the end our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart will triumph. Therefore, let us look toward this day with hope.

As we enter into this New Year, let us keep our hearts focused on our salvation. Let us call upon our Blessed Mother Mary, Mother of God, to keep us faithful to her Son that He may protect us from all harm and all evil. Holy Mother of God, pray for us!

1 comment:

  1. One name applied to Mary is "Theotokos" which some translate as "Mary The Mother Of God". A literal translation is "God bearer," which refers to the fact that Mary bore God within her for nine months. Each of us is literally a God bearer when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion. For this reason we should never use our mouth and tongue, where God rests, in sin.