Discussion Questions

First Reading
Numbers 6:22-27

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

2. Even though sometimes God’s face is hidden from you, do you think “the Lord is looking upon you kindly”? Why is God’s face hidden at times?

Second Reading
Galatians 4:4-7

1. What did God do for us that moved us from the status of slaves to that of children of God?

2. How did the Spirit change the law-based relationship with God that existed before “God sent his Son … to ransom those under the law”? Was the Spirit sent to the heart or the mind?

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


**From Saint Louis University


Kristin Clauson