Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 1, 2014

df519b1bbc2f83b4d1688e04aa054811_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus’ name in the language of his people was Yeshua. The rendering, “Jesus,” is the Greek form of his name. Since Greek was the universal language at the time of the Lord’s birth much as French was in the 19th century and English is now, most of those who came to know the name of the Lord came to know it in its Greek form, and the rendering stuck as the universal usage that has come down to us to this day. The English equivalent of Yeshua (or Jesus) is a fairly common name among us, Joshua. The name means, “Yahweh saves.” The promise of Jesus’ coming, the promise of each new year, and the promise of this new year is that God is faithful, and God will come and save God’s people. Let us then be trusting, as we saw that Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, eventually Zechariah, and even the shepherds trusted what they saw with their own eyes, heard with their own ears, and touched with their own hands: God comes to save God’s people.

Saint of the day: Today is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Mary’s divine motherhood broadens the Christmas spotlight. Mary has an important role to play in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. She consents to God’s invitation conveyed by the angel (Luke 1:26-38). Elizabeth proclaims: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42-43, emphasis added). Mary’s role as mother of God places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan.

Without naming Mary, Paul asserts that “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Paul’s further statement that “God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out ‘Abba, Father!’“ helps us realize that Mary is mother to all the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

Some theologians also insist that Mary’s motherhood of Jesus is an important element in God’s creative plan. God’s “first” thought in creating was Jesus. Jesus, the incarnate Word, is the one who could give God perfect love and worship on behalf of all creation. As Jesus was “first” in God’s mind, Mary was “second” insofar as she was chosen from all eternity to be his mother.

The precise title “Mother of God” goes back at least to the third or fourth century. In the Greek form Theotokos (God-bearer), it became the touchstone of the Church’s teaching about the Incarnation. The Council of Ephesus in 431 insisted that the holy Fathers were right in calling the holy virgin Theotokos. At the end of this particular session, crowds of people marched through the street shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!” The tradition reaches to our own day. In its chapter on Mary’s role in the Church, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church calls Mary “Mother of God” 12 times.

Spiritual reading: For no one can begin anything good unless he begins it from Christ. He is the foundation of all that is good. (Sermon by Aelred of Rievaulx)


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