Merry Christmas, Mary

(December 23, 2007)

Bottom line: These final days in Advent give us an opportunity to thank Mary for her role in salvation and for her example that guides us.

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent we focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary. It used to be that we Catholics placed great emphasis on Mary while our Protestant brothers and sisters tended to ignore her. That is changing - and sometimes Evangelical Christians remind us about Mary's important role. There is nice Country Western hymn that Johnny Cash sings, called Merry Christmas, Mary. Here are some of the lyrics (don't worry, I won't sing them):

Merry Christmas Mary thank you for the child
Thank you for Lord Jesus thank you for the child...
And we thank you Mary for helping give God's greatest gift to man...
Merry Christmas Mary too often we forget
To thank you for your part in giving the greatest Christmas present yet.

We do forget to thank Mary. Next to Jesus, Mary had the greatest role in our salvation. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus took flesh from her. For the first nine months of his human existence, he was totally dependent upon her. After his birth, she continued to nourish him with her bodily substance. She cared for him as any mother cares for a tiny baby. Do we thank her for that?

Our Gospel reminds us that Mary's role was hardly a walk in the park. Today we call it a troubled pregnancy. For a time she lost the support of her betrothed. He was so disappointed, he wanted to divorce her. It took the intervention of an angel - in a dream - to help St. Joseph understand. All of this must have caused terrible anguish to the Blessed Mother. As we know, she did not crawl into a shell. She reached out to someone who needed her help. It was a gracious act for Mary to visit her cousin Elizabeth, now in the final months of her pregnancy.

What a great example Mary is for us. Pope Benedict speaks about Mary's example in his recent encyclical . He notes that for over a thousand years, Christians have greeted Mary as "Star of the Sea." In former days, mariners used the stars to guide them home. As the pope observes, "The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives." Next to Jesus, Mary is the greatest guide for our journey home. The Holy Father speaks directly to Mary: "Your life was thoroughly imbued with the sacred scriptures of Israel...Mother of Hope, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way."

Mary is a great guide for our lives. These final days in Advent give us an opportunity to thank Mary for her role in salvation and for her example that guides us:

Merry Christmas Mary thank you for the child
Thank you for Lord Jesus thank you for the child
Christmas time is here again peace on Earth good will to men
The air is filled with joyful sounds merry wishing all around
Giving and receiving gifts stopping by to thank all of our friends
And we thank you Mary for helping give God's greatest gift to man
Merry Christmas Mary thank you for the child
Thank you for Lord Jesus thank you for the child
Merry Christmas Mary too often we forget
To thank you for your part in giving the greatest Christmas present yet
Merry Christmas Mary

**********

Spanish Version

From Archives (Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A):

2004: Joseph, Do Not Be Afraid
2001: The Virgin Shall Conceive
1998: Iraq & Birth of Jesus

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (Mary Bloom thank-you, boy with achondroplasia, Anthony Flew - There Is a God)

Announcements

Quilts for Orphans Girls

made with love by beautiful people in Whatcom County

Updates on Traditional Latin Mass at Holy Family Parish, Seattle

Preaching Schedule (Dec '07 - Jun '08)

Home

See who's visiting this page.