Today we celebrate the Mother of God.

Jesus is God and Mary is his mother. And so when we say she is the Mother of God we clarifying that Jesus really is God. We celebrate this Solemnity on the Octave of Christmas. Octave means eight. We hear in the Gospel that it was the eighth day after his birth that Mary and Joseph took Jesus in the temple to be circumcised. Circumcision was a sign that you were part of God’s covenant. It was a sign of his blessing.

For Jews, giving and receiving blessings was a very sacred and powerful act. But what is a blessing? A blessing is like a hug from God that makes us grow closer to him and gives us strength to serve him better. So after being blessed God wants us to be a blessing to others. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says it is a prayer invoking God’s power and care. Some blessings confer a permanent status: For example, consecrating someone to God. In marriage, a couple consecrate themselves one to another so that the two can be one and therefore help each other to live in relation to God. Priests are men who are consecrated to God. There are women who take vows and become consecrated to God. We are celebrating a Year of Consecrated Life. Priests and religious are a great blessing to our world.

Mary was consecrated to God at her conception and was blessed among all women. You remember the words of St. Elizabeth “Blessed are you among women!” And the words of Mary herself when she said “From this day all generations will call me blessed.”

Mary’s blessing would bring forth the biggest blessing from God to the human race: the birth of the Son of God. That is why Mary is a blessing to us. One of my favorite memories here at St. Bernadette is the time we consecrated our parish to Mary on February 11th, 2013. We will begin to prepare for a renewal of this consecration on Saturday January 9th. Through Mary we will continue to receive many blessings from God! She will help us to be more open to God’s blessings and to use them to bless others.

God wants to bless us! In the Psalm we prayed: May God bless us in his mercy. Ten piedad de nosotros, Señor, y bendícenos. As we begin this New Year we want to ask God’s blessing upon us. And it is a Year of Mercy so we want to ask for the blessings of God’s mercy upon us, our families, our friends, our parish, on our country, and on the whole world. May Mary, the Mother of God, help us to live the joy of Christmas throughout this New Year so we may share the blessings of his mercy with everyone.

Father Timothy J. Gallagher

St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church
101 South College Street
Cedartown, GA 30125
(770) 748-1517
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