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Pope Francis presides at Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God Pope Francis presides at Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God   (Vatican Media)

Pope at Mass: ‘let us be amazed’

Pope Francis says in his homily during the liturgy he celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica on New Year’s Day that we need to be amazed by Mary, the Mother of God, allow her to gaze on us, embrace us and take us by the hand.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Pope Francis took his cue for his homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, from Luke’s Gospel of the day which says that all were amazed by what the shepherds had to tell them. We should be amazed today by the Mother of God, he said, and allow Mary to gaze on us, embrace us and take us by the hand.

Amazed by Mary

Mary is not only the Mother of God, Pope Francis began, she also presents all of us “reborn to the Lord”, he said. The Church too, needs to be amazed, he continued, “at being the dwelling place of the living God, the Bride of the Lord, a Mother who gives birth to her children”. It is Our Lady who “gives the Church the feel of home”, the Pope said.

Allow Mary to gaze on us

Whenever Mary gazes on us, Pope Francis said “she does not see sinners but children”. By allowing her to gaze on us, we will see the reflection of God’s beauty and heaven. Her gaze, he said, penetrates the darkest corner and rekindles hope.

“As she gazes upon us, she says: ‘Take heart, dear children; here I am, your Mother!’”

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Allow Mary to embrace us

Mary takes all of us to heart in the same way that she took every person and event to heart during her life: her visit to Elizabeth, the newlyweds at Cana, the disciples in the Upper Room, the Pope said. “She wants to embrace our every situation and present it to God”, he said.

Allow Mary to take us by the hand

“God Himself needed a Mother,” Pope Francis said. And Jesus gave her to us from the cross. “Our Lady is not an optional accessory: she has to be welcomed into our life”, he said.

“Mary, take us by the hand,” the Pope prayed at the conclusion of his homily.

“Gather us beneath your mantle, in the tenderness of true love, where the human family is reborn: ‘ We fly to thy protection, O Holy Mother of God.’”

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31 December 2018, 23:59