C Cycle – Feast Mary Mother of God 18
I do not want to go back and give a history lesson on the development of this feast or the controversy surrounding its development. If you are interested in that history and how it caused the Council of Ephesus to be convened to affirm the doctrine read one of my homilies in the archives accessed on the menu bar above. I will admit it is useful information, especially if you are challenged by someone about the doctrine.
What I would like to do is to once again turn our attention on our response to the reason we are celebrating this feast and that is the coming of Jesus. This year two of my granddaughters gave birth and I was blessed by being able to hold each child one the day after being born and the other within weeks of being born. I noticed something that I knew but that was reinforced as I observed family members, friends and relatives as they met those babies.
There is something within each person that motivated them not to just hold the child but to kiss the child on the forehead, cheek or top of the head. There was this need to put a finger out, so the child could grasp it with that little hand. I did those same things as I held and stared and held those babies. I could not help but think of Mary doing the same with Jesus. Touches of comfort and love being given to God as she held God in her arms. Nursing Jesus and having him sleep on her or beside her.
Intimate acts of love unrestrained by decorum or hesitancy because we feel we are unclean and do not want to contaminate that child. Take the time to think of your last time holding a baby and how we say goo goo or make funny sounds and speak to them about how beautiful they are and how we welcome them into our family or lives. Mary did that with Jesus. Joseph did that with Jesus. That song we hear at Christmas titled “Mary did you know” is an interesting question because if she did or did not know would have not made a difference in how she responded to the child. Just like it does not stop how we react to babies as we hold them.
The thing for us to remember is that reaction to babies is exactly the kind of intimacy we are invited to have with God. More than invited it is the kind of intimacy God desires to have with us and us with him. We are invited to approach him with restrictions placed upon us as we would have with a king, president, celebrity or Pope.
No, we God desires us to throw dignity out the window. Many years ago, one of those grand daughters who just gave birth jumped onto the lap of John Paul XXIII as he was blessing children. The protocol was the children were to kneel before him bow their heads and he would bless them without touching them. Then they would move off stage. Well as she approached him, her loving nature got the best of her and instead of kneeling she just jumped into his lap and his response was just as spontaneous, he reached out grabbed her and hugged her.
Today hold the Christ Child and kiss him and as he grows closer to you in your heart jump into his waiting arms. Who is my mother Jesus asks and responds – those who do the will of my father (Mt. 12:50). God will is for us to love him with our whole heart. Those hearts need to be full of unabashed, audacious, shameless love for God.