Freeport IL.- This Tuesday, January 1, is the feast of Holy Mary, Mother of God. It is a holy day of obligation. Why is this day so big? Believe it or not, it is because it was not so much a statement about Mary as much as it was about who Jesus is.
The Council of Ephesus in 431 declared Mary as “Holy Theotokos”. From this declaration there was great celebrations and parades. The people rejoiced for days. There is an odd twist to this declaration. When the council of Ephesus first got together, they were trying to clarify and reaffirm the true teachings of the Bible and the Church. There were many different people around at that time that would say that Jesus was not God, but only Human. Others would say He was God, and only appeared to be human. Both of those false teachings lead people to despair and a scandalous lifestyle.
You see; if Jesus was not God, then God did not so love the world or us. If Jesus was not human, then God did not share in our nature so we could not share in His. By declaring Mary as “Theotokos”, the Church declared to two natures of Jesus. Theo means God; and tokos means bearer. So Mary was declared as the God Bearer. So what does that say about Jesus? It means Mary bore, or gave birth to Jesus. In basic philosophy and science, we learn things give birth to similar things. Bunnies give birth to bunnies, lizards to lizards and humans to humans. It would be odd if the natural conception of an elephant gave birth to a kangaroo. So to say Mary gave birth to Jesus is saying that Jesus is human. But the prefix also acknowledges that Jesus is Theo; God. So in declaring Mary as Theotokos, Jesus is declared as being both everything that a human is and everything that God is.
This does not mean that Mary is somehow above God. Mary conceived Jesus, but Jesus as God was from the beginning and so was not created. That is why the creed says; “begotten, not made”. Though Mary is not above God, she does have some persuasion with her Son Jesus.
Jesus made Himself subject to humanity on the cross, so it is not a far stretch to say that He made Himself subject to His mother. It is good to know that it is not just me and Jesus. It is good to know that I have a whole community interceding for me. It is especially good to know that I got Jesus’ mother interceding for me. See you at Mass for the Holy Day. The times are as follows:
New Years’ Eve 4pm St. Mary- 5:30 pm St. Joseph
New Years’ Day 8:00 am St. Mary-1 0:30 pm St. Joseph
Spanish Noon at St. Mary
Father Barr’s homily for December 30, 2012
Holy Family or Worldly Family?