BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


Lk 2:16-21

What is the most beautiful name of Mary? It is the name that God, through the Archangel Gabriel, used in the Annunciation: “Kecharitoméne” – “full of grace”. This indicates “that she has always been and will always be the beloved, the elect, the one chosen to welcome the most precious gift, Jesus: ‘the Incarnate love of God’” (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, December 8, 2006). God made her so full of grace in view of the infinitely great and sublime role she was called to fulfill in the economy of salvation – to be the Mother of the Son of God. Hence, among the many revered titles attributed to her, the oldest title is “Mother of God.”

Many people may still be uncomfortable with this title, but the simple explanation is this: Mary bore in her womb and gave birth to Jesus Christ. This is a historical fact. So, definitely, she is the Mother of Jesus Christ. And who is Jesus Christ? He is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity; He is True God. Mary is the Mother of the Son who is God. From the very beginning of Christianity, there has been no doubt or question about this title. The early Christians have ever since called her “Theotokos”, the Greek word for “God-bearer”, for indeed, she bore in her womb the God-made-Man. She is the Mother of God. The Eternal Word took His human body from Mary, so that this body of true human nature will be offered in sacrifice for our sake (cf. St. Athanasius – Office of Readings, January 1).


We begin the New Year with the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This is a fitting and proper celebration, for two main reasons. First, just as every human life starts in the womb of the mother, so also the life of the New Year for humanity starts with Mary, the Mother of the Church. Second, the New Year usually comes with some amount of uncertainties and even fears, for many obvious reasons. Starting the year with the Mother of God gives us a considerable reason to feel secure and at peace just as an infant snuggles in the soft and warm comfort of his mother’s loving embrace. With our lives entrusted to Mary at the beginning of this year, we are assured of divine protection and providence. This is because her presence is also a guarantee of the constant presence of her Son Jesus. Where Jesus is, Mary is there; where Mary is, Jesus is there. There is nothing to fear as we begin the New Year. Mary reminds us that her Son, Jesus, will be with us always as He has promised. Every New Year is still and always the Year of the Lord.

Moreover, the New Year is not only about celebrations. It is also a challenge to conversion and new beginnings. That is why we make our New Year’s resolutions.
As Christians, our resolutions must not be superficial and passing, but rather fundamental and lasting. And fittingly, this we do again with Mary. Pope Benedict XVI said: “Mary welcomed Jesus with faith and gave him to the world with love. This is also our vocation and our mission, the vocation and mission of the Church: to welcome Christ into our lives and give him to the world, so ‘that the world might be saved through him’” (Angelus, December 8, 2006).

Mary’s complete and unconditional obedience moved her to accept God’s will. This is what the Gospel meant by the statement: “Mary treasured everything in her heart.” As a result, while she conceived in her womb the Incarnate Son of God, at the same time she also conceived in her heart the Eternal Word of God. Herein lies the fundamental basis of Mary’s greatness, according to St. Augustine: “The divine motherhood would have been of no value to Mary had Christ not borne her in his heart, with a destiny more fortunate than the moment when she conceived him in the flesh.”

Mary was able to fulfill her vocation and mission of welcoming Christ into her life, and of giving him to the world because of her obedience. As Christians, our vocation and mission will also be made possible if, like Mary, we learn to follow the will of the Eternal Father.

We begin the New Year as the World Day of Prayer for Peace. Yes, peace has to be prayed for. We have to ask God in humble supplication to grant us the peace that the world cannot give. It is the peace that is the fruit of complete obedience to God’s will. In this, we need not only pray. We are called to action – to proclaim and obey the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. He was born in Bethlehem, but he must also be continually born in our hearts as we welcome Him in every Eucharistic Communion. And then, like Mary, we must also share Him with others. As everybody embraces and follows Him, then and only then can there be true and lasting peace in the world.

May you all have a peaceful and blessed New Year!

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


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