Today we celebrate a very special feast: of Mary Mother of God. As our second reading tells us When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. What on earth does that mean?
It’s very simple. All human beings are made to live the law. And what is the law? To receive the love of God, and love him and others back in return with all of our heart, mind and strength. That’s all commandments are: the basic of love. But we don’t always love God and others fully do we? Since Adam’s fall, we all fail, and have no hope fulfilling the commandments, and so no hope of communion with God – heaven, in other words.
But luckily for us, God loves us. So he decides to help us fulfil the law in him. How did he do that? By becoming a man, just like us, and living exactly what we live but fulfilling the law perfectly. This is great news: finally, there is a human being who has fulfilled what it means to be human. But as Jesus is not only perfect man but co-eternal Son of God, that means that linked to him by our humanity and baptism, any man or woman baptised into him also shares in the the life of the Trinity – the life of God.
Do you believe that? There is proof, as St Paul told us: The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba, Father’, and it is this that makes you a son, you are not a slave any more; and if God has made you son, then he has made you heir. So how do we know it’s worked? Because unlike anyone else, a Christian can pray to him as Lord, and receive him in the sacraments.
Father, that doesn’t sound much, you might say. But what more is there? Apart from fulfillment of who I am, and freedom from sin (which is the only kind of freedom), and eternal happiness, and the entire cosmos and eternal God belonging to us, and receiving whenever I ask for it the eternal fire of love of the Holy Spirit – what else is there? It makes our Christmas presents look pretty small, doesn’t it. How fantastic it is to be a Christian.
And this brings us to the other point of today’s readings: As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. Mary shows us how to hold onto this fulfilling freedom. Because if we don’t treasure these things, we can’t receive them, and if we don’t ponder what God has given us, we don’t change.
Now we aren’t all the Virgin Mary: just as well, because I’d be a pretty ugly one. And we aren’t all called to be monks – otherwise the human race would die out. But what is true that if we don’t take time each day to treasure God’s Words to us, we die inside, and life becomes too hard. So here are three simple ways we can treasure God’s word every day:
- Keep a little journal, not of all your thoughts, but just the words God says to you, in your heart, through an event, through something in the bible or from mass, or dare I even say, from a homily. And read back over it every day.
- Alternatively, write one of these things which you want to live, or which touches you on a post-it note and stick it above your kitchen sink, or on your wardrobe door, or on your car dashboard, or, best of all, the back of the toilet door, where all the family is sure to see it.
- At least once a day, go outside and look at and appreciate and savor the beauty of creation, letting it speak to you, and thanking God for making it just for you, as well as to share with all the others.
Because that’s the great thing about life, you know: any good or beautiful thing you see or receive God organised for you to have it just at that moment. So let’s ask God in this Eucharist which way he wants me to treasure his Word this New Year. Amen.