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 Discussion Questions
Solemnity of Mary,
the Holy Mother of God
January 1, 2023
Anne Osdieck

First Reading
Numbers 6:22-27

1. “The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace.” The word peace is a translation of the word shalom, which more literally means, “every good thing in good measure.” These are God’s own words in this blessing. What does this tell you about God’s love for you?

2. Do you feel that God’s face is hidden at times? When? Does it help to hear that “the Lord is looking upon you kindly?”


Second Reading

Galatians 4:4-7

1. Why are we no longer slaves but children of God? What did God do for us that made this true?

2. Did God send the same “Spirit of his Son into our hearts” that he sent to Mary when she conceived Jesus? How does this Spirit “ransom those under the law”? According to St. Paul, was the Spirit sent to the heart or mind?


Gospel

Luke 2:16-21

1. What kind of sense would you make of shepherds and messages from angels and mangers? Did Mary get any final answers from Gabriel or the shepherds? Can you make sense of everything in your life? What do you mull over in your heart? What do you treasure and remember and preserve?
 
2. “Son, behold your mother” (Jn 19:27)! Does Mary now love all people with the same love she had for her son? Pope Francis mentions in his homily for Mary, Mother of God, that Mary shared our condition and that her heart was enlarged through sorrow. How does she help us on difficult and obscure paths in life’s “pilgrimage of faith?”

It is said that the residents of Ephesus used to gather at the gates of the basilica where the bishops were meeting and shout, “Mother of God!” The faithful, by asking them to officially define this title of Our Lady, showed that they acknowledged her divine motherhood. Theirs was the spontaneous and sincere reaction of children who know their Mother well, for they love her with immense tenderness. But it is more: it is the sensus fidei of the holy People of God, which, in its unity, never errs.
 
Mary has always been present in the hearts, the piety and above all the pilgrimage of faith of the Christian people. “The Church journeys through time… and on this journey she proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary” (Redemptoris Mater, 2). Our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close to us. As far as faith, the hinge of the Christian life, is concerned, the Mother of God shared our condition. She had to take the same path as ourselves, a path which is sometimes difficult and obscure. She had to advance in the “pilgrimage of faith” (Lumen Gentium, 58). …

Her sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, all, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus.

Pope Francis, Holy Mass on the Solemnity Of Mary,
Mother of God, January 1, 2014

Anne Osdieck
Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go http://www.ltp.org