Summary: In this sermon, the preacher focuses on the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. He believes that after Jesus Christ, Mary is the principal person in the history of salvation. He explains that it was pure love-in-faith which brought about Mary's motherhood to Jesus.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Why did God choose Mary?
What was His reason for giving this particular place in His plan of salvation?
This question can time to time arise in us when we think of Mary the Mother of Jesus.
Christianity is not simply a religion.
First and foremost, it is an event, the manifestation of a Divine act in and through human history.
Our history is a history of salvation because God Himself has entered it.
After Christ, the virgin from Nazareth is the principle person in this historical sequence of events.
It is concerned with the Mother of one definite person, Jesus of Nazareth.
Mary is the mystery of a mother who had a child.
Yet, this historically conditioned life is the revelation of the divine act of redemption.
And this became in Mary’s Child a reality, which was at the same time also a historical reality.
If we consider this mystery of Mary in its human and historical dimension, we obtain an insight into the quiet simplicity of a pious, homely woman of the people whose vision of life is steeped in the Old Testament and Jewish tradition.
But, the history of Mary’s life is also a revelation.
It is the tangible, visible and historical aspects of a supra-historical dimension of the Marian mystery which affects the salvation of all human beings.
It is for this reason that scripture records only those human facts of Mary’s life, in which this supra-historical dimension plays a vital part.
All the other human facts of the virgin’s life are of secondary importance compared with those human events which indeed have the special privilege of transmitting to us in a visible form God’s supra-historical act of redemption.
We tend to forget that the whole of Mary’s earthly life was passed under the veil of faith which neither saw nor comprehended, but continued to trust in the unfathomable dispensations of God’s providence.
It is quite clear that Mary’s faith was always coming up against contradictions.
The prophets foretold that the Messiah be a King and the government would be upon His shoulders.
Yet, He was born to Mary in a cave, because as St. Luke observes that there was no room for them.
What is more in her life, she was obliged to seek refuge in Egypt with that Child.
The same royal Child grew up later in quite ordinary human circumstances.
The final contradiction for Mary must have been to see her King go to an inglorious death on the cross.
Mary had no idea how everything would eventually turn out, but she continued to believe and trust in the message of the angel.
She persisted in her faith in God despite all the outward signs seemed to contradict it.
In spite of all these contradictions, God was with Mary.
This was her grace.
But grace is always accompanied by a commission.
In Mary’s case the exquisite grace, “the Lord is with you,” went together with her sublime commission to be with the Lord.
And she fulfilled this commission in a magnificent manner.
When she conceived Jesus, it was not simply a question of the living God, coming to her.
She also went to Him, for whom she had been waiting for so long and her conception was a religious ascent to the Messiah.
Incarnation took the form of a living encounter between God, the redeemer and humankind waiting for the Messiah.
Jesus came to those who shared Mary’s faith but “His own received him not…”-Jn 1:11-13, because they had not been waiting for Him in their hearts.
Mary was all expectation and longing for the God who was to come, and this is why she received Him when He actually came.
Her longing anticipated the reality of this loving encounter in her heart and her womb because God was already with her from the very first moment of her existence.
Mary’s intimacy with God was so close that God, in His nearness to her, was able and ready to become human as flesh of her flesh.
We know from the scripture how Jesus lived for years in the closest intimacy with His mother Mary.
And it has revealed to us the essence of her holiness, though here it is necessary to read between the lines.
It was pure love-in-faith which brought about Mary’s motherhood.
God gave His love to her and she giving love in return for His love became the Mother of the God in love and faith.
From this moment Mary grew so intimately together with
Christ that His actions became hers too though their ways were difficult.
Our task here is to consider the depth of Mary’s religious life and its growth towards explicit faith in and through her intimacy and daily contact with Christ’s humanity.