[Numb. 6:22-27; Gal. 4:4-7; Lk. 2:16-21]
After the Earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman's house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees like a person was worshiping; her body was leaning forward and her
two hands were supporting an object. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head.
With many difficulties, the leader of the rescuer team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman's body. He was hoping that this woman could still be alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away. He and the rest of the team left this house and went to search the next collapsed building.
For some reasons, the team leader was driven by a compelling force to go back to the ruin house of the dead woman. Again, he knelt down and used his hand through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body.
Suddenly, he screamed, "A child! There is a child!"
The whole team worked together, carefully they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a 3 months old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother's dead body. Obviously, the woman had made an ultimate sacrifice to save her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to make a cover to protect her son.
Today we celebrate the sacrifice of a teenager to submit herself to the plan of God to be the mother all human race. Mary is called "Theotokos", or "God-Bearer". The word in Greek "Theotokos" was used as part of the popular piety of the early first millennium church.
Mary submitted completely to God's will. When Mary was only a teen-ager, she was confronted with the challenge to be completely submitted to God's will. When Gabriel gave her the angelic message that she was to carry the Christ, Mary was stunned. Yet her response was "I am the Lord's servant. May it be done to be according to your word." From that moment Mary never wavered from her complete submission to God's will. She was nervous. She was unsure of her own abilities. She was anxious about the prophecy. But Mary was there at the Incarnation, Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of God Incarnate. She was there throughout the "hidden years" in Nazareth. In the life of the Redeemer.
Mary was like any parent here. She wanted only the best for her child. So she fled with her son to Egypt. She came back and lived silently in Nazareth. She worked with Joseph to provide the best for her son. Through out her life she was fully aware that life happens, and not all of life is pleasant. She was fully aware of her limitations. But she never allowed any of the personal things to be a hindrance to provide the best for her son and to be with him at every crucial point of his life.
Dr. Benjamin Carson, renowned surgeon at Johns Hopkins, tells a moving story about his mother. Mrs. Carson insisted that Ben and his brother Curtis write a book report every couple of weeks. This wasn't for school - this was for their mom. Ben and Curtis dutifully obeyed.
About the time he was in junior high, Ben finally realized something quite shocking. His mom couldn't read. For years Ben had read books and scratched out reports, assuming that his mom was checking every word. But she didn't have a clue what he was saying.
Ben grew up to be a world-famous surgeon and was the author of several books. Though she was illiterate she gave her boys what she had - interest, accountability, and the courage to work hard.
As a mother called by God she never relinquished the title. She stood by him till the foot of the cross. The truth of Simeon's prophecy at the birth of Jesus came true. The cross cut deeply into Mary's heart. She crumpled at the cross. She fell down to the depths there, moaning and wailing and begging the God of heaven to protect her son.
You'll find mothers like that in the halls of children's hospitals, in funeral homes and in the counselors' offices. Mothers never relinquish the title, even if the child is disabled, rebellious, harsh, or cruel. Her heart just will not allow it. Not when she is called by God. We should recognize and honour all our mothers for the sacrifice they make in their life.
Today it is January 1st. Another day and another year has begun. With all the news in the media during the past year on riots, wars and natural disasters, many must have thought that they would never see the arrival of this year. But the dawn of the New Year offers us Hope in the darkness of the chaos in the world. God promises a future filled with hope. The life and example of Mary should inspire us to keep our hopes alive and live optimistically.
"May God fill you with joy and peace in this new year.