This Sunday is the first day of the calendar year and what better way to start the year than by honouring Mary, Mother of God, with a solemnity to her name. The liturgy on this first day of the year honours Christ’s mother and our mother because it was she who said “Yes” to the Lord to bear the saviour of the world. We start the new year by saying “Yes” to whatever it is that the Holy will of our Father will bring us this year.
In the First Reading, from the Book of Numbers, the Lord tells Moses to tell Aaron, the head of the Levitical priests, to bless people in this way: “May the Lord bless you and keep you. / May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. / May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”
There are many reasons why the Church has given us this reading from the Book of Numbers to honour our mother. Here are a few.
Through Mary came the greatest blessing that humanity will ever receive. It was she that embraced the Lord’s will, and it was she that bore, nursed, taught, and raised Jesus, the Son of God and our saviour. We could never give her enough gratitude.
Catholic tradition will often name Jesus as the “Face of God.” This idea typically comes from Colossians 1:15, which says that “He is the image of the invisible God.” Well, if you look again to the blessing in our First Reading, we see that twice it references the “face of the Lord.” This gives us a very vivid idea of how high an honour Mary is due: Not only did the Lord’s face shine on her and was it uncovered to her, but she actually formed God’s human face, herself, in her womb! Think about it, Mary conceived Jesus virginally, so no DNA from St Joseph had anything to do with Jesus. Therefore, all of the DNA in Jesus was from Mary. Can you imagine how much He looks like Mary?