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Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God – Cycle A

31 December 2022

Reflecting on Luke 2:16-21

“Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  I’ve thought about that word a thousand times. It appears that Mary was as shocked at the words the angels sang to the shepherds as they were.

When the shepherds joyously ran the five miles from what is now called Shepherd’s Field to “see this thing which has come to pass,” they found Mary and Joseph and the Child. Then, apparently, they ran into the neighborhoods, shouting the Good News which the angels had proclaimed.

And what did the young Mary do? She kept these things. She treasured these things. She pondered these things. We’ll see that word again twenty verses later when Jesus, now a young man of twelve, Is “found” in the Temple by his frantic parents.

At some unconscious level, they must have known the day would come when their Child would announce the mission of his life. The three returned to Nazareth, and Mary pondered all this in her heart.

To “ponder” means to “throw together.” I think this means that Mary held together the entire Mystery–the Angel Gabriel’s shocking announcement, the surprise pregnancy of her older cousin Elizabeth, the angels filling the skies and singing about the birth of her Son, the visit of the shepherds, the joy with which Anna and Simeon greeted the Child in the Temple, and yes, the prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart.

She held all these things together. Throughout history, the human race has begged her to hold our prayers close to her, now, and at the hour of our death.

Do you think Mary was shocked at the appearance of the angels, and the shepherds?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Christmas - Cycle A

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