January 3, 2011: I Wonder as I Wander

by Mary Galvano

“I Wonder as I Wander,” as the song says, through these days of mystery and miracles surrounded by Christmas. The three feast days that are in the immediate New Year: Mary, the Mother of God, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are to me the most amazing reminders of why our Lord came down to Earth and how by a simple “yes” from Mary made it all happen.

Mother of God is one of the most significant titles given to Mary. It was also important in clarifying the Church’s belief that Jesus did not simply “become” God; he was divine from his conception. So this feast, which appears to be a feast of Mary, is actually a further clarification of the meaning of Christmas.

But why would God need a mother? He is God! Was it to simply be born through another human being? No, there is more to it than that. People tend to forget that Mary giving birth to Jesus wasn’t the end of her role with the child of God. It was to give the child Jesus a home. Mary, along with Joseph, was the first example of what Jesus’ was teaching in the temple when He said, “When you do this to the least of my people, you do it to me.” Joseph and Mary did just that.

Mary’s “yes” to God was to provide a home for the Son of God. When He was hungry they fed Him, when He was sick they nurtured Him, when naked they clothed Him, when lost they found Him, alone they comforted Him, and they provided for Him a place to live. Now, that is faith in action!

We can also help God in the same way by simply helping someone else in need. That is the least we can do since Jesus did help each and every one of us by being our savior. Epiphany reminds us of that and is a further reflection of the meaning of Christmas: Christ is the light and the savior of the whole world. He came from the Jews and fulfilled Israel’s hopes for salvation from God. But—a point that was strongly contested in the early Church—salvation is not limited to the Jews. It is for everyone!

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