Friday, August 15, 2014

Short Homily on the Feast of St. Mary

13 August Anno + Domini 2014 (Observed)
Luke 1:46-55 (Is. 61:7-11; Gal. 4:4-7)

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Some seven centuries before the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came down from heaven and was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, the prophet Isaiah prophesied:  “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exalt in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness . . .” 
And “when the fullness of time had come and God sent forth His Son to be born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons,” the woman to whom He was born, the Blessed Virgin Mary, declared, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant.”  Thus, is Isaiah’s prophecy here, and indeed all of his prophesies about the coming, Virgin-Born Savior of the world, fulfilled.
Dear friends, we set aside this day on our calendar to remember and honor the Blessed Mother of our Lord Jesus, whom we rightly confess to be the Theotokos, the “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.” We do so not so much to honor St. Mary in and of herself, but to honor the grace with which she was filled and the faith which was given to her by the Holy Spirit who overshadowed her and led her to proclaim, “Let it be done to me according to Your Word.” For that grace and faith took up residence within her and has a Name: The Holy One of God, Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior. Thus, in honoring St. Mary, we honor her Son, our Lord, as she herself does, and teaches us to do, in the beautiful words of her Magnificat. 
St. Mary magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in her Son, her God and Savior, for she knows that He has come to save her and all humanity. She knows that He has come to do great things for her, and for you – to clothe her and you in the garments of salvation, the robe of righteousness.
And so He has, for He assumed flesh and blood from St. Mary that He might be born under the Law to redeem those under the Law – all sinners – by fulfilling that Law perfectly and offering up that same flesh and blood as an atoning sacrifice on the Cross for all. That’s how He’s St. Mary’s Savior, and yours, too. He has looked upon your humble estate and done marvelous things for you. He clothes you in His perfect holiness and righteousness, for He has paid for, and buried, all your unholy and unrighteous deeds and brought you into His perfect and eternal life at the font, where you were called by His Name and clothed in Him. And He is ever present here in His Holy Church to wash your baptismal gowns clean in His Blood as you partake of Him in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Oh yes, He has done, and continues to do marvelous things for you. Holy is His Name, which is your Name by grace and mercy and love.  
Come, then, O Sinner redeemed by St. Mary’s Son, your Brother, and be exalted in Him. Come and be filled with the good things of His Body and Blood, helped and strengthened by His grace, mercy, and love. In so doing, your soul magnifies the Lord and your spirit rejoices in God your Savior, and St. Mary’s beautiful Magnificat becomes your song. Thus can you, even you Lutherans, unashamedly confess, knowing that it is a confession of your redemption in Jesus Christ who became Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary to save you: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Amen.”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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