Mary, Mother of God – Solemnity

January 1, 2023

INTRODUCTIONHOMILIESPAPAL HOMILIESFAITH SHARINGCHILDREN

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Pope Francis

March 13, 2013 – Present

ROME REPORTS IN ENGLISH

Mary Mother of God, Solemnity

JANUARY 1, 2020

Born of Woman

Jesus, newly born, was mirrored in the eyes of the woman, in the face of his mother.

As we begin this new year, let us ask ourselves: Do I know how to see with the heart? Do I know how to look at people with the heart? Do I take to heart the people with whom I live? Or do I tear them down by gossip? And above all, do I put the Lord at the centre of my heart, or other values, other interests, like advancement, riches, power? Only if we take life to heart will we know how to take care and overcome the indifference all around. So let us ask for the grace to live this year with the desire to take others to heart and to care for them. And if we want a better world, a world that will be a peaceful home and not a war field, may we take to heart the dignity of each woman. From a woman was born the Prince of peace. Women are givers and mediators of peace and should be fully included in decision-making processes. Because when women can share their gifts, the world finds itself more united, more peaceful. Hence, every step forward for women is a step forward for humanity as a whole.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 1, 2017

Mary – Our Mother, Too

We are a people with a Mother; we are not orphans.

Mothers are the strongest antidote to our individualistic and egotistic tendencies, to our lack of openness and our indifference. A society without mothers would not only be a cold society, but a society that has lost its heart, lost the “feel of home”. A society without mothers would be a merciless society, one that has room only for calculation and speculation. Because mothers, even at the worst times, are capable of testifying to tenderness, unconditional self-sacrifice and the strength of hope. I have learned much from those mothers whose children are in prison, or lying in hospital beds, or in bondage to drugs, yet, come cold or heat, rain or draught, never stop fighting for what is best for them. Or those mothers who in refugee camps, or even the midst of war, unfailingly embrace and support their children’s sufferings. Mothers who literally give their lives so that none of their children will perish. Where there is a mother, there is unity, there is belonging, belonging as children.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 1, 2014

The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Mary has always been present in the hearts, the piety and above all the pilgrimage of faith of the Christian people. 

In the first reading we find the ancient prayer of blessing which God gave to Moses to hand on to Aaron and his sons: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-25). There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing: they will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us. They are words of strength, courage and hope. Not an illusory hope, based on frail human promises, or a naïve hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future. Rather, it is a hope that has its foundation precisely in God’s blessing, a blessing which contains the greatest message of good wishes there can be; and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us, filled with the Lord’s loving care and providential help.

The message of hope contained in this blessing was fully realized in a woman, Mary, who was destined to become the Mother of God, and it was fulfilled in her before all creatures. The Mother of God. This is the first and most important title of Our Lady. It refers to a quality, a role which the faith of the Christian people, in its tender and genuine devotion to our heavenly Mother, has understood from the beginning.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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homilies

Pope Benedict XVI

April 19, 2005 – February 28, 2013

Mary Mother of God, Solemnity

JANUARY 1, 2011

“Born of Woman”

It is in the name of Mary, Mother of God and of men, that since 1 January 1968 the World Day of Peace has been celebrated throughout the world. 

In the Second Reading St Paul sums up in the adoption as sons the work of salvation brought about by Christ in which the figure of Mary is honoured. Thanks to her the Son of God, “born of woman” (Gal 4:4), was able to come into the world as a real man, in the fullness of time. This fulfilment, this fullness, concerns the past and the messianic expectations, which were brought about, but at the same time also refers to fullness in the absolute sense: in the Word made flesh, God said his ultimate and definitive word. Thus on the threshold of a new year, the invitation to walk joyfully towards the light of the “day that shall dawn… from on high” (Lk 1:78) resounds in this way, because in the Christian perspective all time is inhabited by God, there is no future that is not oriented to Christ and no fullness exists outside that of Christ…

This priority attention that today’s Readings pay to the “Son”, to Jesus, does not lessen the Mother’s role, on the contrary, it puts it in the right perspective: Mary, in fact, is the true Mother of God precisely by virtue of her total relationship to Christ. Therefore, in glorifying the Son one honours the Mother and in honouring the Mother one glorifies the Son. The title of “Mother of God” which the Liturgy highlights today, stresses the unique mission of the Blessed Virgin in the history of salvation: a mission that is at the root of the worship and devotion which the Christian people reserve for her. Indeed, Mary did not receive God’s gift for herself alone, but in order to bring him into the world: in her fruitful virginity, God gave men and women the gifts of eternal salvation (cf. Collect). And Mary continually offers her mediation to the People of God, on pilgrimage through history towards eternity, just as she once offered it to the shepherds of Bethlehem. She, who gave earthly life to the Son of God, continues to give human beings divine life, which is Jesus himself and his Holy Spirit. For this reason she is considered the Mother of every human being who is born to Grace and at the same time is invoked as Mother of the Church.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana;

JANUARY 1, 2008

The Gift of Peace

The Greek verb used [for pondering], sumbállousa, literally means “piecing together” and makes us think of a great mystery to be discovered little by little. 

In the First Reading from the Book of Numbers we heard the invocation: “The Lord… give you peace” (6: 26); may the Lord grant peace to each one of you, to your families and to the whole world. We all aspire to live in peace but true peace, the peace proclaimed by the Angels on Christmas night, is not merely a human triumph or the fruit of political agreements; it is first and foremost a divine gift to be ceaselessly implored, and at the same time a commitment to be carried forward patiently, always remaining docile to the Lord’s commands.

This year, in my Message for today’s World Day of Peace, I wanted to highlight the close relationship that exists between the family and building peace in the world.

The natural family, founded on the marriage of a man and a woman, is “a “cradle of life and love'” and “the first and indispensable teacher of peace”. For this very reason the family is “the primary “agency’ of peace”, and “the denial or even the restriction of the rights of the family, by obscuring the truth about man, threatens the very foundations of peace” (cf. nn. 1-5).

Since humanity is a “great family”, if it wants to live in peace it cannot fail to draw inspiration from those values on which the family community is based and stands. The providential coincidence of various recurrences spur us this year to make an even greater effort to achieve peace in the world. Sixty years ago, in 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations published the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”; 40 years ago my venerable Predecessor Paul VI celebrated the first World Day of Peace; this year, in addition, we will be commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Holy See’s adoption of the “Charter of the Rights of the Family“. ”

In the light of these significant anniversaries” – I am repeating here what I wrote precisely at the end of the Message –

“I invite every man and woman to have a more lively sense of belonging to the one human family, and to strive to make human coexistence increasingly reflect this conviction, which is essential for the establishment of true and lasting peace” [n. 15].

SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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homilies

Pope Saint John Paul II

October 16, 1978 – April 2, 2005

Mary Mother of God, Solemnity

JANUARY 1, 1998

The Theology of Christ’s Birth

Christ’s coming into the world is important from the standpoint of human history, but it is even more important from the standpoint of man’s salvation.

“When the time had fully come”(Gal 4:4). These words of the Letter of St Paul to the Galatians correspond very well to the character of today’s celebration. We are at the beginning of the New Year. According to the civil calendar, today is the first day of 1998; according to that of the liturgy, we are celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Based on Christian tradition, the custom of counting the years from Christ’s birth has spread throughout the world. Therefore on this day the lay and ecclesial dimensions converge in their celebration. While the Church celebrates the Octave of Christmas, the civil world celebrates the first day of a new solar year. Precisely in this way, year after year, that “fullness of time” described by the Apostle is gradually expressed: it is a sequence that advances gradually down the centuries and millenniums and will be ultimately fulfilled at the end of the world.

We are celebrating the Octave of the Lord’s Birth. For eight days in the liturgy we have been reliving the great event of Jesus’ birth, according to the narrative offered to us by the Gospels. Today St Luke describes the Christmas scene in Bethlehem once again. Indeed today’s account is far more condensed than that of Christmas Eve. It confirms and in a certain sense completes the text of the Letter to the Galatians. The Apostle writes: “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman … so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’. So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir” (Gal4:4-7).

St Paul’s marvellous text perfectly expresses what can be described as “the theology of Christ’s birth”. It is a theology similar to that proposed by the Evangelist John who, in his Prologue to the Fourth Gospel, writes: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…. To all who received him, who believed in his name he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:14, 12). St Paul expresses the same truth but, we can say, in a certain sense he completes it. This is the great proclamation that resounds in today’s liturgy: man becomes the adoptive son of God thanks to the birth of the Son of God himself. Man receives this sonship through the work of the Holy Spirit — the Spirit of the Son — whom God has sent into our hearts. It is thanks to the Holy Spirit’s gift that we can say: Abba! Father! Thus St Paul seeks to explain in what our adoptive sonship consists and how it is expressed in relation to God.

Aided by St Paul and by the Apostle John in our theological reflection on the Lord’s Birth, we understand better why we are accustomed to counting the years with reference to Christ’s birth. History is divided into centuries and millenniums “before” and “after” Christ, since the Bethlehem event represents the basic measure of human time. Jesus’ birth is the centre of time. The Holy Night has become the essential reference point for the years, centuries and millenniums in which God’s saving action unfolds.

Christ’s coming into the world is important from the standpoint of human history, but it is even more important from the standpoint of man’s salvation. Jesus of Nazareth willingly submitted to the limits of time and opened it once and for all to the dimension of eternity. Through his life, and especially by his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus revealed unequivocally that man’s existence is not “oriented to death” and destined to be extinguished in it. Man exists not “for death”, but “for immortality”. Thanks to today’s liturgy, this basic truth on man’s eternal destiny is re-presented at the beginning of every New Year. In this way light is shed on the value and on the proper dimension of every age, and also of the relentless passing of time.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana;


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