Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Homily Solemnity of Mary Mother of God 2009

With today’s feast of Mary, the Mother of God,
the Church once again brings to a close
the eight-day-long celebration of the Octave of Christmas.

We rejoice heartily in the Lord and give thanks
that today, in Christ, a new and radiant light has dawned upon the world.

Though He entered the world in human flesh in a particular historical moment,
the Word of God has existed eternally,
together with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
in the splendor of the Godhead.

The Son was begotten from eternity and given life by the Father.

Jesus has a Father, God the Father, from whom His divine life flows,
and the two are of one substance with one another.

The divine person was born in time,
in order that He might enter our human existence,
and, as one like us in all things but sin,
bring salvation to the whole human race.

Man’s Creator has become man, born of a virgin.

In a marvelous exchange,
we have come to share fully in the divinity of Christ
who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.

For the mystery of the Incarnation to unfold, Jesus needed also a mother.

And so, in the womb of the Virgin Mother of God,
Mary’s Messiah became also her son.

It is interesting to note that the Latin root
of the word used in the prayer of the Church
when referring to the “marvelous exchange” of the Incarnation
is “commercium” – the cognate of the word “commerce.”

As we bid farewell to 2008, we are well aware
of the serious economic situation that affects our whole country.

In these difficult times, the Church directs our attention
to a different kind of “exchange” –
one in which God offers Himself to become like us
so that we are able to share in His divine life.

In the face of even the most serious challenges and struggles,
God is always with us and His love never fails.

By the grace of Baptism, we have all become sons and daughters
of God our Heavenly Father.
We are God’s children, who by divine instruction and the teaching of Jesus,
boldly pray the Lord’s prayer, daring to call on Him as “Our Father.”

God has placed His Spirit within us at Baptism,
so that…as Paul writes…we are no longer slaves but sons and daughters,
who cry out “Abba!”

We belong to Him and our relationship is intimate.
“Abba” is the affectionate form, like calling on God as “Dad!”

Jesus used this affectionate name and invites us to do the same.

Our boldness is quite proper, for the divine eternal life of God is within us
by the mysterious action of grace through the Sacraments.

God is our loving Father.

In order that the divine life given to us at Baptism
might become incarnate within us and be born anew in our lives,
we too need Mary as our mother.

We share in divine life and in the redemption won by Jesus on the Cross
because of Mary’s love for God
in saying “yes” to the angel
and because of Mary’s love for us
in her constant and powerful intercession before the throne of God.
Mary is our mother.
The Church is also called “mother” in the writings of the saints and pastors,
and many comparisons can be drawn between Mary and the Church.

The Church is mater et magistra – mother and teacher for us.

It is through the Sacraments of the Church
that we experience the living grace of God,
so that God is not a theological construct for us
but a living person whose presence directs our lives.

Through the teachings of the Church and the shepherding of her pastors
we hear and understand the revelation and will of God,
and find there the purpose and direction of life.

In the Liturgy, we are caught up in the saving action of Christ
and in the worship of the angels,
for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

What God has given us through the Church is beyond our comprehension.
It is so beautiful and compelling
that for centuries men and women have died that the Church might live.

The Church is not, then, simply one choice among many for us.
Being Catholic is not a switch one can turn on or off.

It is through Mary’s love and the Church’s life
that we share in the divine life God bestows on His faithful people.
Infants by nature cry out for their mothers
and we all depend upon maternal love to experience the fullness of life.

In our spiritual lives, we depend on the maternal care of Mary and the Church.

In giving our lives fully to Christ, we receive the fruits of the Incarnation.
In a marvelous exchange,
we offer our humble efforts and receive an abundance of grace.

In the New Year we will surely face challenges:
threats to faith,
challenges to love and justice,
promises of obstacles to the protection of human life,
and our own unique trials and sufferings at home, at work, at school.

In the divine life of grace which was poured into our souls at Baptism,
which we share through the powerful intercession of Mary
and through the life of the Church,
we find the peace and strength to meet these challenges.

In the New Year, may we be courageous living witnesses
that no human challenge is stronger than God’s redeeming grace
and that the truth and love revealed to us in Jesus Christ
can...and will...and does...bring new and abundant life to every human soul!

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