Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God

January 1, 2017

We rejoice on this day for all the Blessed Mother welcomed into her life as she responded to the invitation of God to be the mother of our Savior.  It is by her great acceptance that we know the story and the glory of our Savior.  As we begin a new year, we are invited to embrace the openness to the unknown.  We are invited to trust in the providence of God and His desire to intervene into our lives with His grace.  In a recent program on television about the Christmas story the script read, “When Mary became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit the world became expectant.”  I have reflected about that deeply in the past week.  The world is very expectant at these times. There is a lot of uncertainty, voices that have not been heard in a long time feel the need to be expressed, sometimes with hatred and violence.  The tension between groups of special interests and causes have polarized the fabric of understanding and togetherness.  When the freedom of speech is disconnected from the purpose of communication, and the passion of the verbiage is disconnected from the personhood of the listener, value and goodness retreat.  This breakdown can be seen throughout the world.  Uncertainty prevails.

Mary walked into uncertainty holding on to the one thing that we know of with certainty, the love of God.  She held onto the love of God who chose her to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.  This same certainty is offered to us today.  At the recent liturgy for the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I asked the Religious Education students what makes their moms special.  They responded with great insight as to what makes their moms great.  From cleaning up messes to providing meals; from always being there for them to reading stories to them; from sharing their occupations, like being a nurse that saves lives to being at home as the one whose arms are needed to get better when we are sick.  All had great insight into the power of the moment.  We have control to influence the lives that surround us.  We have power to walk into uncertainty knowing that God will not abandon us.

While some cannot wait to close the book on this past year because of pain, sorrow and tragedy, others feel it was the best year ever. The Cubs won the World Series and some things froze over.  No matter what our starting point, the reflection on the Blessed Mother offers us encouragement.  For those in sorrow, we may remember how she watched the King of Kings be nailed to a cross and gasp His last breath, He the child she bore.  For those rejoicing, we may recall how she was visited by Gabriel and later heard the pure message of God spoken through the lips of her very own Son.  She watched water turn into wine in Cana and witnessed a family be freed from embarrassment.

The whole world is expectant in these times. My prayer is that we follow in the footsteps of the Blessed Mother and trust the unknown to a God who is known.

Have a blessed New Year!

Reverend John J. Ouper