Swords and hearts united

Tom Bartolomeo
Mother of God C 2013
Numbers 6: 22-27; Psalm 67;
Galatians 4: 4-7; Luke 2: 16-21
Reproduced with Permission

"Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Mary's faith was such that she did not need a sign from God when the Archangel Gabriel announced that she would be the Mother of God. Nine months later God affirmed Mary's faith in his Word made flesh revealing the "good news" of a Savior

Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping.
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary, "What Child is This?"

Then eight days later after the birth of Jesus Mary would have other things to reflect upon when she and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for his circumcision ( the first shedding of his blood as Savior ) and heard from the priest, Simeon, her part in Jesus' ministry.

Behold, this child is set for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and for a sign that is spoken against
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also),
that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed, Luke 2, 22 ff.

That sign would be the cross Jesus bore on Golgotha under which she would stand and hear her son's dying words, "Woman, behold your son! . . . [Son] behold your mother!", that she would have the care for all mankind, John 19, 26-27.

No woman before or since has known more about the trials of a mother than Mary, Mother of God and mother of man divine, the new Eve who with Christ, the new Adam, would regenerate divine life for all humanity.

I don't have to enumerate the trials other mothers and fathers must endure today which many are called to accept, happily, for the reward of heaven, life with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Recently, I received an email for a woman who recalled a discouraging childhood she had with her mother, and although sincere was misguided in claiming that some women should not marry and have children. Were all we had to depend upon were ourselves I could agree. The birth of Jesus, however, was much more than paying down a debt for our transgressions and sins but a regeneration of human and divine relationships through God's abundant grace of which Mary first had a 'full' measure.

I realize I have now come full circle. You may say, God bless her, I'm not Mary, and God bless Joseph, my husband is not him. Why not?, I say. Start out with 'good intentions' like Mary and repeat her reply to the angel, "Be it done to me according to your word," Luke 1, 38.

Accept from God Joseph's premonition and leave with family in hand for their safety. What's my point? We know little about tomorrow so "Be not afraid", words of an angel greeting Mary, Luke 1, 30. Christ's birth, life and death changed our lives, too. Jesus once for all time punched a hole through the portal of death so we may escape this world for eternal life. If that is troubling to you then pray . . . pray hard as the father who plead with Jesus to help his son, "Lord, help my unbelief" ( Mark 9, 24 ), much like a child, Mommy, Mommy or Daddy, Daddy help me. So be a child again raising children and let God be the Father he has always been for you. For heaven's sake give up the false promises of this world and try God. Find him in your own children whatever their state of need, morally or otherwise. At least you won't be idle and bored.

Before coming here I thought hard about my words would be to you, more for the women and mothers here. Believe me, I realize that as a man I may not appreciate altogether your struggles as wives and mothers. We all share the same humanity, however, hopefully as Jesus desired, "I no longer call you servants but friends", John 15, 15. Our brothers and sisters in the faith and others so much need our assistance particularly single women's families and their children. They comprise more than fifty-three percent of our families, most of whom are unmarried mothers with children whom Jesus cares for as much as any of us. In this I speak from personal experience both as a "child of divorce", myself, and formerly a Big Brother counselor and Big Brother volunteer. I was particularly blessed having many uncles as Uncle Jack who took me fishing, Uncle Joey and Uncle Richie as well as my Irish grandfather, George McLaughlin who shared every ball, strike, double play and home run of the Brooklyn Dodgers which we heard on the radio every Sunday afternoon after the chicken dinner we caught from the backyard coop. Even developed my taste for good Italian cooking at Aunt Rose's and Aunt Julie's and Aunt Grace's kitchens. Here try this, Tommy. U . .mm good!

Men, what divorced or single mother's boy in your extended family needs the companionship of a man? And ladies, what girl? What boy or girl in the Big Brother Big Sister's program needs an adult mentor to spend afternoons with? You will find a Big Brothers Big Sister office in Rockford on Y Boulevard. My young boy at Big Brothers would stare at the door waiting for me, his mother told me, until I arrived. In three weeks we were fast friends. Without healthy Catholic normalcy in their lives besides their mothers ( who can only do so much especially if they are working ) your niece, nephew, or neighbor's child will, statistically speaking, fail at marriage themselves or avoid marriage and cohabitation without first encountering a positive adult man or woman' leadership. Would you want a New Year's Resolution which may save a child's life? I have just given you a great one.