As you know, New Year’s Day was the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the Gospel reading at Mass was Luke 2:16-21. In case you missed it:
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.
(What was the message? “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12)
All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Let me first admit, I have historically heard and read scripture with what might be described as a matter-of-fact monotonicity. It was if I was reading a newspaper article. But I’m learning to approach Holy Scripture differently, as if I’m actually there in the story. What a difference!
Can you imagine? Just think about Mary for a moment! First, there were the mind blowing experiences of the Annunciation and the Visitation in Chapter 1. Now this? The birth of Jesus – not in a hospital, or even a cheap holiday “inn”, but a cold, filthy, foul-smelling barn – and your first visitors include a bunch of mangy shepherds and their stinky sheep? And they’re all excited about their encounter with an angel who appeared out of nowhere in the dark of night while they’re just hanging out, trying to stay awake, watching for thieves and wolves?
“And Mary (who had just lived through the torturous experience of child birth) kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
Imagine you’re actually there observing and experiencing all of this with your own eyes, ears – and nose!
So, I heard these verses read on New Year’s Day. They’re verses I have heard read many times before, but this time it was very different. But, what really resonated with me was not the reading, but what Father said in his homily. Now, I have to admit. Sometimes, I’m struck with, “that was a great homily.” But, most of the time, I forget the specifics of it by the time I get home.
This homily was different. There are two points I have been “keeping and reflecting on in MY heart.”
The first is this: Yes, Mary’s special, but she was still human. She’s one of us. Yes, she’s the Mother of God. But, she’s also our model for being church, the body of Christ which we are all a part of – and she’s seated out here with us, right there – in the front pew participating in the Mass with us.
The second is: Yes, Mary is the Mother of God who presented Jesus to the world for us all to encounter. But, she also modeled how we, too, are to present Jesus to our world.
Interesting, isn’t it? Those are both elements of our own vocations – as Great Catholic Business People – and what we’re to be about at Nos Lumine.