Pastor’s Corner for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Year A, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God


The world is celebrating the beginning of another year, and I am sure you will receive a hundred “happy new year” greetings from friends and family. I want more for you. I don’t simply want your year to be happy, I want it to be blessed. I may sound rather charismatic and evangelical, but my wish for you is that you have a blessed new year.


The church has dedicated this day not to the secular celebration of new year but to the religious celebration of Mary, Mother of God. She is the perfect example of someone who was not necessarily happy was certainly blessed.


“Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”


The point I am trying to make is that being blessed by God is not necessarily the same as being happy. Mary had a difficult life, beginning to end. She risked public shame, bore a child in a stable, became a refugee, raised a child that was “different”, watched him embark on a dead-end public career as a prophet and then watched him die. While I am sure there were many things that Mary was happy about, while I sure she knew joy, she also knew pain and sadness, the very opposite of a “happy” life.


Instead of running after happiness, I wonder if we shouldn’t be focused on looking for things like peace and joy, right relationship with God and our neighbour, serving others and making a difference in the world.


We wont always feel happy, that’s just how life is, but I think we can always feel blessed, which something completely different.