..feast of Mary Mother of God.. ..a fine opportunity to begin this Mass & a New Year by praying the Angelus together..
“..may the Lord uncover his face to you & bring you peace..” in OT the great divide between God & humankind was stoutly preached & fiercely defended.. ..story of Moses & as God was about to walk past him, he was picked up by the scruff of his neck & put face inward into cleft in rock until God had walked by.. & now divine & human woven together..God made man in Mother Mary..is seen touched & kissed in person.. “..may the Lord uncover his face to you & bring you peace..” the divine New Years resolution & blessing for each of us this morning..
“..may the Lord bless you & keep you..” ..keep you forever.. ; Lord have mercy “..may the Lord let his face shine on you..” ..shine on you a beamer.. ; C hrist have mercy “..may the Lord uncover his face to you..” ..his face in yours.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
2010 BBC seeking to fill a God slot pre Christmas approached Tony Jordan writer of East Enders to ask him to write a script of the Nativity..being a non believer he sat down to read Infancy narrative & wept at “the most beautiful story in the history of the world” he began his research in scripture “the gospels weren’t much use, two of the four don’t mention the nativity at all & the other two “very helpfully contain about 400 words on the whole subject” past attempts reverent & controversial to bring story to life didn’t impress him either “I knew I wanted to put heart into it. I’ve never seen that done before, even the iconic image is cold. With Mary, all you ever see is a one dimensional image with a halo & a ready brek glow,”Jordan read history books, consulted theologians as well as Nasa in an effort to understand the star over Bethlehem “I began to realise how little I knew about Mary & Joseph..some of research suggested Mary could have been as young as 12 “she became something different in my eyes..a child.” Once he makes the Mary-Joseph relationship as normal & credible as anything in Albert Square, he allows supernatural elements of story to sit less uneasily because they have a context “you cannot have Mary going away to see her cousin & coming back pregnant without Joseph asking real live questions, the questions the audience would ask”..perhaps the questions you & I would want to ask but never felt it was reverent polite & Catholic to ask?..so, with a ready brek glow & with our Church beautifully decorated warm snug cosy, we swallow 112 word gospel I’ve just read..I like Tony Jordan read book last week by Verena Wright titled “Maid in God’s Image” subtitled “in search of the unruly woman” she speaks of Mary being socially invisible most of the time, a pondering silence, active contemplation in conversation with God ; as theotokos “Christ bearer” she offers a mothering model of discipleship..quiet with an enabling presence, an enduring support, loving witness; she learns the hard way about childbirth & survival, seeking the good of her child even when that includes standing back, accepting his need for independence, a hard balancing act of loving & letting go, trying to encourage & enable,while still offering protection from harm, & support in pain & vulnerability. “perhaps the clearest glimpse of mothering comes through Jesus himself, who seems to have learned those human qualities of unconditional love..nuture, compassionate understanding, gentle strength..from his mother. He is aware too of importance of bodily expression as a channel of meaning for those whose voice is otherwise unheard invisible”..he champions the place & identity of marginalised & vulnerable, looking for & promoting the good in people & in ourselves” perhaps he becomes “Mary bearer”?..like mother like son..I was thrilled to read Verena wrote “the gospels are disappointingly silent on whether at the birth there was another woman to help her..was it down to Joseph or did she do it alone? surely there must have been a woman in the nativity scene?..& Tony Jordan offers an answer..food for thought & prayer which is surely our vocation..to hear then read consult pray imagine & allow a truth to emerge..a reluctant angry dutiful Joseph, with his questions still unanswered, takes Mary on donkey into teeming alleyways of Bethlehem to his cousin Rachels home ..Rachel answers door & glows with joy & welcome, until she notices over his shoulder heavily pregnant Mary..her look & demeanour transformed she spits out “not with her!” no room..migrancy 2018 too close to home..as they reach stable Mary goes into labour ..Joseph in alleyway begs for help from priests levites practising Jews pagans..only one responds, a prostitute, whose practical love & compassion are incredible..the very one Judaism would stone to death helps bring the Son of God to life..to life among us..”a mothering model of discipleship, quiet with an enabling presence, having learned the hard way the balancing act of loving & letting go..trying to encourage & enable”..& the child is born when she, the prostitute, of all people, encourages a self pitiful Joseph to grasp Marys desperate outstretched hand in belief, to take it & her in love, & the rest is salvation history come to life..born 1 Jan 2018.. [Mary Mother of God ; Luke 2;16-21]