Monday, January 01, 2007

Monday word, 01 Jan 2007

Mary, Mother of God C (1 Jan 2007) Nu 6. 22-27; Ps 67; Gal 4. 4-7; Lk 2. 16-21
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
What No Angel Can Do

The festival of the Incarnation--from Christmas Day through the Baptism of the Lord--is never enough time. It is never enough time to soak in the astonishing wonder of the divine become human, heaven on earth, God assuming our human nature. Mary’s motherhood of God began our redemption in Christ Jesus born from her.

This happened when the fullness of time had come, as St. Paul put it. Indeed, when heaven joined earth time became more than full, it flooded with God. Earth slowly--a person at a time--joined heaven: Mary’s response to Gabriel’s message from God; the action-response of the shepherds to the angelic Gloria; and the acceptance of Jesus as prophet and messiah of God by individuals down to us here and now. All those action-responses to the divine desire to restore and reunite humans with God means that time is full of the divine life of the Trinity, who decided in their eternity that the Second Person should also become a human being in order to save the human race, as St. Ignatius of Loyola expressed it.

In one sense time passes: 2006 seeps into 2007. In another sense time is full, and our reckoning it into hours, days, months and years is artificial. We live in the more real sense of time as flooded with God. The motherhood of Mary means we live between Jesus’ first arrival as human and his glorious return as risen Lord. We humans, not angels, are his ambassadors now. This vocation of ours satisfies humanity’s deepest hungers. We are to extend the message of the angels and do it in ways no angel can: we are sent to proclaim the Messiah Jesus with our flesh and blood; to proclaim him with our lives.

Because we have flesh and blood clothing our spirits, the angel-spirits pray for us and cheer us on to do our our part to make this fullness of time more humane as God in Christ by their Spirit make it divine.

Photo from Wikipedia Commons. It is in the public domain.

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