Mary, Mother of God

Homily for Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
December 31, 2021
Sacred Heart, EGF – Saturday 5:00 PM    
 


At the start of the new year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Mary is the mother of Jesus.
Jesus is fully human like us.  That is true.
But Jesus is also fully divine.  He is God.

Jesus has a human nature, but he also has a divine nature.  A nature is what a thing is.  A person is who a thing is.  For example, Fido is a dog.  Dog is the nature, the “what”.  Fido is the identity, the “person” if you will, the “who”.

Jesus is a divine person.  His identity is the Son – the second person of the Holy Trinity.  He is God.  He is a divine person with a divine nature.

“The word became flesh” and dwelt among us.  When he was conceived in Mary’s womb, he took up a human nature.  He also kept his divine nature.  He is one divine person, with a human nature and a divine nature.  The 2 natures are not confused, but united, in the person of God’s son.  Jesus is not half God and half man.  He is fully God and fully man.

For that reason, if Mary is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God, then we must rightly conclude that Mary is the Mother of God.  To deny that Mary is the Mother of God is to deny that she is the mother of Jesus, or to deny that Jesus is God.

Catechism: “Mary is truly ‘Mother of God’ since she is mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.”[1]

The title “Mother of God” points to the central truth of the Incarnation: Jesus Christ is true God and true Man.

If he was not God, his death could not have atoned for our sins.
If he was not human, he would not have been able to pay the debt that humans owed, because he would not have been able to die.

Three errors around this:

  1. Jesus is true God but not true man.  Jesus did not really receive a human nature from Mary, so she is not his mother. 
  2. Jesus is true man, but not God.  Mary can be called Mother of Christ but not Mother of God.  Heresy of today: “Jesus is a great teacher, a great prophet, he showed us how to love…”  Yes, yes, yes.  But He also claimed to be God.  And He rose from the dead. 
  3. Nestorianism.  There are 2 persons in Christ: one human and one divine.  Mary gave birth to only the human.  She can be called “Mother of Christ” but not “Mother of God”.  Leads to saying things like “Christ is not God, God only lived in him like in a temple.”

    But no, St. John says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

    Nestorianism: condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431.  Mary is proclaimed “Theotokos”: God-bearer.  More than “Christotokos”: Christ-bearer.

If Christmas highlights God taking up a human nature and becoming one of us, then tonight’s feast affirms that he remains what he was before: divine.

Perhaps it could be said that Christmas highlights the humanity of Jesus,
and today’s feast highlights the divinity of Jesus.

Tonight’s feast affirms that Jesus is a divine person with a human and divine nature.  It is at the center of who He is for us.

He is God.
She is the Mother of God.

He is also human.
She is his mother.

When the fulness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Jesus came to reconcile us to God, to make us sons and daughters of the Father once again. Like the younger son who returned to his Father after squandering the inheritance[2], we are welcomed back into the family of God, our sonship is restored, because of the sacrifice of Jesus. 

He is not ashamed to be called our brother, and to call us his brothers and sisters.
and so, his mother becomes our Mother.

Mary is the Mother of God.
She is his Blessed Mother.
She is also our Blessed Mother.

The divine and human natures are united in Jesus, who is God,
because we are to be united in Jesus, who is God.

That begins here in the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ on earth.
And it will reach its fulfillment in Heaven.

She who brought Him to birth in Bethlehem, intercedes for us
so that He may be brought to birth in us.

She who formed Him in her womb intercedes for us
so that we might be conformed to Him.

For that reason, we pray:
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.


[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, #509

[2] Luke 15

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