On this Eighth Day of Christmas, we mark the beginning of a New Year. It was on this day, scripture reminds us that the infant born to Mary was named: “When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (NAB, LK 2:21) Although the name “Jesus” was quite common just over 2000 years ago, Joseph and Mary gave him this name in accordance with the instructions from the Angel Gabriel. His name means “God saves” in his native language, as it is a combination of Ya, which is short for Yahweh, and hoshea, which means “salvation.” The Letter to the Galatians reminds us, “Brothers and sisters: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.” (GAL 4:4-7)
Salvation came to us through the birth of a child, and his mother Mary, through her “Yes” to the invitation of God, became the Tabernacle of God, the very Mother of God, as the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was conceived in her womb. It is the woman Mary who brought this life into the world, and she is rightly to be given special recognition, adulation, and love, for she is the purest of disciples. Just as the waters of the Red Sea were split open, freeing God’s People from slavery and establishing a covenant through the Law, the waters of Mary’s womb broke open, giving birth to the Son of God who would bring freedom to all through a New Covenant established in love. We are the sons and daughters of inheritance, chosen by God, and having accepted his invitation, also call Mary our mother, just as Jesus himself did.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.