The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
[Scripture Readings: Num 6:22-27, Gal 4:4-7, Lk 2:16-21]
Time. What is time? Stephen Hawking wrote a book titled A Brief History of Time. St. Augustine said he knows what time is until he tries to define it. In ordinary speech we use the word loosely. We talk about daytime and nighttime, long time, short time, historical time, psychological time, physiological time, past time, present time, future time, but we never use the words the completion of time or the fullness of time. This is how our second reading began, “When the fullness of time came.” We don’t think in terms of the completion of time. Yet, this is the revelation. We are living in the fullness of time, the completion of time. This does not mean time is over, it means time is full, nothing is lacking. God sending His son into the world born of a woman marks the fullness of time.
Today we are celebrating that woman, Mary, the Mother of God. This feast marks the beginning of our civil year. We can say that the time of 2004 will be under her protection, her care. We can even say we will spend the time with Mary.
There are a few very important things we don’t know about the Year 2004. First of all, we don’t know if we will be here at the end of it! Secondly, if we are here, we don’t know what our health of mind and body will be. These are important considerations, but they are not crucial consideration. What is much more important is that right now and all through 2004, whatever time we have, we live in the fullness of time — the completion of time.
Spending time with Mary can lead us to the fullness of time. Here is how St. Ambrose puts it. “Let Mary’s soul be in each of you . . .” What is Mary’s soul? It is her most profound being—the place of her greatest transparency before God. It is where God comes to her. The Father overshadows her. It is where the Holy Spirit becomes her spouse and the Word becomes flesh as Jesus. It is where she becomes the Mother of God. It is where the fullness of time begins. And we are there. If we let Mary’s soul live in us, we are in the fullness of time.
“Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of God.”1 When we proclaim the greatness of God in prayer, in the office, in the way we live, we are in the fullness of time. St. Ambrose goes even further. He says when we believe we conceive and bring forth the Word of God.
The year ahead will demand many things of us-maybe even our life. It will call for many acts of faith. Mary is called blessed because she believed. Our lives will be truly blessed if we believe and let Mary’s soul live in us.