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Gospel for Saturday, January 1: Luke 2: 16-21

Mary Most Holy Mother of God

16They went, without delay, and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, lying in the manger.
17And after seeing him, they reported what they had been told about the child. 18All who heard were amazed at the things the shepherds said to them. 19Mary, for her part, kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as they had been told. 21When the eight days prescribed for circumcision were completed, he was given the name Jesus, as he had been called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2: 16-21

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.


Today, at the beginning of the year, the Church invites us to contemplate Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God. Speaking about Mary correctly is difficult and important. In 1980 Cardinal Pellegrino wrote: “It is not a lack of attention to basic needs when in the post-conciliar period sacred buildings are erected where the norms of the liturgy are ignored, not to say trampled upon, where I would not have the courage to guide a Protestant friend, because there would you see an expression of mariolatry, which undermines the paschal mystery?”.

“«It is probable that Protestants would have to say more things about Mary, if Catholics had not said so many, too many». This statement by Karl Barth is echoed by the words of Hebert Roux: «What we receive about Mary from the New Testament is little and it is too much; it is little to justify the disproportionate development of Catholic Mariology; it is just to justify the silence of Protestant theology around the Mother of the Lord.” These testimonies are an invitation to sobriety and to never forget that a serious and measured discussion on Mary can no longer ignore, in the Catholic context, the methodological turning point and the criteria established by chapter VIII of Lumen gentium (21 November 1964) and by Marialis cultus ( 2 February 1972), reconfirmed by the Redentoris Mater, this means that a correct understanding of the figure of the Virgin must first of all obey the biblical criterion, taking into account not only the texts themselves but how the different scriptural fragments on Mary are celebrated by the different liturgies of the asked and explained by the holy Fathers and doctors. Secondly, the anthropological or ecclesial criterion must be taken into account, moving from the Mariology of privileges to seeing in this “completely singular member of the Church (the) figure and (the) most excellent model for it in faith and charity”. Thirdly, the ecumenical criterion must be vigorously underlined, removing obstacles and learning to explain the reason for the doctrine and worship of Mary not only to brothers of different Christian denominations, but within the same Catholic confession” (G. Bruni) .

Let’s clarify right away: “Mary is not a peripheral point of the Christian message. Of course, Mary alone is nothing, but she is so connected to the Lord that by diminishing or offending her, Christology itself is impoverished. Talking about Mariology is not remaining in the true faith: it is blasphemy: we should talk about Christology in which the mystery of Mary is inserted because Mary is part of the connection in the announcement of Christ and has no autonomy with respect to this announcement” (E. Bianchi ). This is why on 10/29/1963 with a majority of only 40 votes out of 2200 voters it was decided by the Council not to make an autonomous document on Mary but to deal with her within the Constitution on the Church, the Lumen gentium.


The Bible proclaims that there is a “continuity between Israel, Mary and the Church… Once again the Mother of Jesus reveals herself to be walking with the people of God of both alliances” (A. Serra). Mary is the new Eve, mother of believers, she is the new Israel, she is the new Jerusalem, and she is a metaphor for the Church. Mary “is given as the archetype of what the Church itself is called to be; in the Mother of God the assembly of believers finds its symbol and its projection” (G. Bruni): from this perspective, the prayerful reflection of the Church will see in her Immaculate Conception the anticipation in Mary of the common destiny of intimacy with God, in his Virginity the totality of God’s Presence of eschatological times, in his Assumption the realization for the blessed among women of the plan that God has for all of us. The Second Vatican Council also urged us to this typological reading of Mary, “super-eminent and completely singular member of the Church, figure and most excellent model for her («typus et exemplar spectatissimum»)” (Lumen gentium, n. 53).

The profoundly biblical typological reading of Mary does not exclude the more personalistic one: “Not sentiment, but the testamentary word of the Lord on the cross established that Mary was the mother of those who are one with him, aware now of having , alongside a father in faith, Abraham, also a mother in faith, Mary” (G. Bruni). The typological and collective symbolism reading does not resize or diminish the individualistic reading.


“The existence of an area of consensus among Christian confessions regarding Mary is noted:

  1. Primacy of Christ and priority of Christological discourse over that of Mary (from “through Mary to Jesus” to “in Christ to Mary”).
  2. Model of the Church in the life of faith, of listening to the word, of serving the Lord.
  3. Mary praised for the great works of God in her.
  4. Even prayer with Mary does not offer particular difficulties, as it was already witnessed in the first Christian community” (R. Bertalot, S. De Fiores).

Finally, Mary prays for us, like the great intercessors (1 Pt 3,12; Ps 34,16; Jas 5,16), and with us: “Mary is not between the Church and the Tri-unity of God, but within the Church, together with him, adores the Father in Spiritu veritatis, moved by the Spirit of Truth who is the Son Jesus” (G. Bruni).

The Marian Ecumenical Declaration of Malta states: “This inclusion of Mary in the cult around the immaculate Lamb (Christological aspect) associated with the entire celestial liturgy (ecclesiological aspect) prevents any interpretation that seems to attribute to Mary an honor that is due to God alone ”.

Thus rediscovering Mary, our sister and friend, mother in Faith, one of us, in whom the plan that God has for all of us has already been realized, through the grace of the Most High and his “Yes”, fills us with joy and of hope. And she encourages us to become, like her, living icons of the Son, in obedient listening and in agapic practice, in faithful and humble discipleship up to the Cross, so that we too can enjoy the same blessed fate as her.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

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