Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. This is our Lady’s greatest title. On this day, I would like us to reflect on 3 “M” words associated with Mary: mother, mediatrix and model.

First, Mary is mother. That’s the main point of the painting on the screen entitled the “The Sleep of the Infant Jesus”. Mary gave birth to Jesus, the human child. But that child is the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity. Mary, as mother of Jesus, is also the mother of the Son of God. Therefore, it is proper to address Mary as the mother of God.

However, there is an even more beautiful reality present here. As the 2nd Reading points out, we are the “sons and daughters of God”. Since God gives us permission to call him “Father” and Jesus calls God “Father”, that means Jesus is our brother. Mary is Jesus’ mother. Since Jesus is our brother, then, Mary is also our mother.

Jesus’s love for us is so great; he gave us everything: his body, his blood, his very life. He held nothing back, including his mother. Mary embraces each of us with the same maternal affection that she showered upon Jesus. She rejects no one who approaches her.

Here are the words Mary, Our Lady of Guadeloupe, addressed to Juan Diego in 1531 during one of her apparitions: “Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Are you not in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”

Second, Mary is mediatrix. Mary is the most unique of all creatures. No other person has equaled her, is equaling her now, or ever will equal her. As the painting shows, she held Jesus in her arms. She literally kissed the face of God. Because of this unparalleled closeness to God, we consider Mary to be a powerful mediatrix, or intercessor, before God.

“Mediatrix” is derived from the word “mediator’. Mary, as mediator, is a bridge between God and us. The Opening Prayer of today’s Mass contains these beautiful words: “We pray that we may experience the intercession of Mary through whom we were found worthy to receive our author life, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Therefore, with great confidence, trust and hope, we call upon Mary to present our needs and prayers to God.

Mary has only one ministry – to lead us to her Son. Think about it. Who knows Jesus better than his mother? She knows the way that will bring us to her Son. Why would we not trust her? Why would we not go to her and say, “Help me to love your Son just like you do”?

As everyone knows, the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. As a response to the presence of this deadly virus, on May 1, 2020, Bishop Marcel Damphousse presided at the 12:05 Mass here at Christ the King. During the course of the Mass, he consecrated Canada and our diocese to Mary, the mother of God. This consecration only makes sense if we accept Mary’s role as mother and mediatrix.

With COVID cases surging, let’s not forget about this consecration. Just as it is important to rely on solid scientific advice (masks, hand sanitizing, social distancing), and just as it is important to rely on solid medical resources, such as the vaccine and the subsequent booster, it is equally important to rely on this consecration as a solid spiritual resource.

As we journey through this pandemic, let us continue to entrust our country, our diocese and our loved ones to Mary’s maternal care and protection in order to benefit from her powerful intercession.

Therefore, just as she held the child, Jesus in her arms, let us draw close to her and ask her to hold us in her arms during these difficult and challenging times.

Third, Mary is model. Mary is the 1st believer in Jesus. Mary is the perfect disciple. There are no mistakes in the way in which she heard the word of God and acted upon it.

Today’s Gospel gives us an important insight into the depth of Mary’s faith and discipleship: “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart”. “Pondering” is more than trying to think something through in all its depth and implications. 

“To ponder in one’s heart” means to stay connected to God in one’s heart and to place everything in his hands when you do not fully know or when you do not fully understand what is happening. “To ponder in one’s heart” means to surrender to God’s will in everything and to be willing to be used for God’s purposes.

Mary’s pondering resulted in her unconditional response to the call of God. As today’s Gospel indicates, she obeyed the word of God even in the name that she gave her newborn son. She was “full of grace”, not only for being chosen as God’s mother, but for her total openness to God. Although she lacked complete understanding, Mary accepted totally God’s plan for her life and trusted that he would sustain her. The end result was that, through her “yes”, she became a co-worker with God in his mission of salvation for the world.

Today’s Gospel is more than a retelling of a 2,000-year-old story. It ought to be a basis for reflection on our lives and our conduct. The invitation is to allow Mary to become our model of faith and Christian discipleship.

We may wonder how it is possible to follow the example of someone who is perfect and sinless. But the challenge of today’s Gospel is to ponder as Mary pondered.

We, too, can be “full of grace” by opening ourselves to the will of God as it unfolds in the unique circumstances of our lives. As Mary did, we can say “yes” to God’s call even if we do not understand everything clearly. We can freely give ourselves to God and try to do whatever he asks of us although we may be troubled or confused. Just as God relied on Mary to cooperate with him to bring Jesus to Nazareth and Bethlehem, God counts on us to cooperate with him to bring Jesus to Sudbury in 2022.

As we begin a new year, let us remember that we that we live in North America, a continent that is under Mary’s protection. (Our Lady of Guadeloupe is the patroness of the Americas.) Let us also recall that we are members of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, a diocese that has been, not only dedicated to Mary, but consecrated to Mary.

Although the future is hidden from our eyes, with Mary as our mother, mediatrix and model, we are given the grace, courage and perseverance to deal with whatever comes.

To conclude, I would like us to pray together the “Hail Mary”. As we say the words, may we ponder them within our hearts and minds.

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

December 31, 2021 – January 1, 2022

Deacon Roland Muzzatti

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