As our biological father gives life, our biological mother bears life. So God the Father gives life, His own life, so that we may live spiritually, Mary bears His life so that we may live spiritually. She is the mediatrix of all grace – grace is the life of God. As the source of grace, Jesus Christ came into the world through Mary, and so God chooses to continue to give the grace that He gives through her.
I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named …
-Ephesians 3: 14-15
Fathers represent, and therefore teach us, about God the Father with whom we are destined to spend eternity. If we do not learn to know Him and love Him as a father, it will hinder our chances of achieving that end.
Today we are confronted with a great mystery of our faith. The Lord reveals to his disciples that He will suffer, that He will die, and that He will rise again on the third day [Luke 18: 31-43]. And we are told they could not understand this saying. We can understand, perhaps, how his rising from the dead might be difficult for them to grasp. Such a thing had only happened a couple of times in their recorded history. But that He would suffer and the He would die – why should this be difficult for them to understand?
God created all things, and among the things which he created are angels – non-corporeal persons. When we say non-corporeal, we mean that they do not, according to their natures, have bodies such as humans and lesser animals. When we say that they are persons, we mean that they are individuals of a rational nature. That they are created is a fact that distinguishes them from God, who is also non-corporeal and personal.
“That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. So that he is no longer a slave, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God.” (Gal 4:5-7) We should meditate on this truth often. The humanity of Jesus Christ was something new upon the earth, something new in creation. It was new because it was not humanity like any other. This humanity, while truly itentical to ours, was also for the firs time up to that point, truly holy.
“You shall find an Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12) This was given as a sign by the angel. a sign that this was somebody special, that this was who they were looking for. In other words, this was a little out of the ordinary. What, then, does the Lord’s birth portend? He, the creator and Lord of all, unlimited power and majesty, born in a stable. And hardly a stable at that, we are told, a hollow on the side of a cave, exposed to the elements. Born in obscurity, only the cloths of the poor to be wrapped in. If the birth of a King is commensurate to his dignity or his kingship, then what can we say about the birth of Jesus? He has come to rule the humble.
The Propers of Christmas Eve are very much about the relationship of the Messiah to His people. And what is that relationship? The prophet Jeremiah tells us, “They shall be my people and I shall be their God.” (Jer 32:38) But today’s Propers point out which conditions He will be our God as well as the significant benefits of this arrangement.
Mary was conceived in the womb of St. Ann, and in that moment, and for all eternity, she was and will remain untouched by any and every stain of sin. Not since the sin of Adam had such a child been conceived, and only one child would be conceived after her in that way. That child would be God Himself, conceived in the womb of the Immaculate Conception.
As trees are shedding their leaves and winter is rolling in, things die. And we celebrate the month of the Holy Souls in purgatory. We contemplate the end of all things. Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:31-35) tells us about the death of the just, the death of the saints. The Gospel does this by using two figures – the mustard seed, which becomes a great plant, and the leaven which is introduced into the measures until the whole is leavened. This, we are told, is a parable indicating that only at the end of our lives will the merits be exchanged for eternal reward. So we want to make sure that the whole measure is leavened.
From the Lesson for the 23rd Sunday of Pentecost (Phil 3:17-21; 4:1-3) – “Their end is ruin, their god is the belly, their glory is their shame, they mind the things of earth. But our citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly await a Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will refashion the body of our lowliness, conforming it to the body of His glory by exerting the power by which He is able also to subject all things to Himself.”
The World, material things, power, prestige, ego – they all come to nothing in the end. Their God is the belly – pleasure, comfort. Their glory is their shame – those things which they hold as dear now will be seen in the end to be empty. The problem is not the things of the earth, the problem is minding the things of Earth, because we are citizens of heaven. To be poor in spirit is the opposite of minding the things of the earth.