The Path to God is not a straight line ,it’s a Circle.
The Catholic Church has affirmed and will always affirm that Christ Jesus is the only mediator between God and Man,(1Tim 2:5) and He stands in need of no other in his mediatorship, He alone is the mediator of the new covenant. And this by shedding his blood on the cross of calvary,by being the lamb that was slain.
But why did Christ do this? To save us from our sins? Yes! But not just that, He did this also to unite the Trinity with Humanity, that we may become part of a new family,a family of God’s people,part of his body, what St. Paul likes to call the Church.
And so the whole of Christendom is all about a family ,a family of not only God’s people but also God’s Children, Sons and Daughters of God.
In this family which has Christ for its center we have not only those alive on earth but also those who have gone before us,because this family cuts across the barriers of death. Like St. Paul would say in his letter to the Romans,Death,where is your victory, Death where is your sting????(1Cor.15:55)
St. Paul also says in Hebrews 12:1 that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.
Now if you have followed me up to this point,I would like to introduce to you 2 things about this family that you probably may not have considered.
The first is that in this family, Love is the rule and defining figure because the Father of this family is Love Himself (1John4:8).
And one characteristic of true love is that it generates community.
That is why even God exists as a communion of three persons, a Trinity.
And so in this family of God’s people,the family of saints,there is Communion, what we call ‘The Communion of the Saints’.
But it clearly means that all the saints of God are in a communion of love with Christ as the centre and the Holy Spirit as that bond.
And so its really a circle, with Christ at the centre and all the people of God holding hands around him.
This leads me to the second point.
As Christ is the one Mediator between God and Man, when we were baptized into Christ, we were baptized into his body,we were baptized into his Mediatorship. This is why members of this family of God in Christ can pray for one another.
I can pray for you and you can pray for me,your pastor can pray for you and you can pray for him also. St. James also writes ‘ confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. (James 5:16)
Because we share in the one mediatorship of Christ.
This is why even when Paul said that Christ is the only mediator he still asks his brethren to pray for him. Cf. Romans 15:30
This prayer for one another is not only for those on this earth but also for those outside of the earth as well. Remember that in this family Death is no barrier.
In fact death leads us to a more perfect life.
And in the bible we see that these prayers really extended to those who were not presently on earth but are either in heaven or have just passed on.
We see in 2Tim 1:16-18 that Paul prays for the dead Onesiphorus that he may find mercy from God on the day of judgement. We also see in 2Macc.12:45-46 how Judas gathered up collections and sent to the temple at Jerusalem so that prayers should be offered for the soldiers of Israel who had died in the war.
And then on another hand,We see in Rev. 5:8, Rev.6:9-10, and Rev.8:3, the saints in heaven were offering prayers to God for and about those on earth.
That is the nature of this family.
And so through us his creatures God can choose to gain honour and glory. Throughout scripture we see God granting favours of people just because they asked some secondary agent,who is God’s representative.
Example we see Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham.
Elijah and the woman of zarephath.
We see Naaman the Syrian and the prophet Elisha.
These people therefore played Intercessory roles.
These intercessory roles did not take away from the honour of God but fueled it the more,because in God’s family everybody is involved in Christ.
You may say those two examples are old testament ones but look at the new testament.
We see Mary at the Wedding at Cana,Jesus performed that first Miracle of his,because she had asked,though his time had not yet come. John 2.
We see Peter and the apostles as they went about healing the sick and helping people,who asked them,
And so it is. That is why St. James wrote in James 5:17-18 that the Prayer of a righteous Man availeth much
And who is a righteous man,someone who is close to God.
And no one is closer to God than his mother,Mary.
This is not only in the saying, but a further study of scripture would reveal that Mary had deeper roles in connection to our salvation than any other creature on this earth.
You may wish to consider what Simeon said at the Presentation in the temple… he spoke to Mary alone under the control of the Spirit.
And he told her what?? A sword shall pierce your own soul too,so that the secrets of many would be laid bare. (Luke 2:35)
He told her this while prophesying Jesus’ mission.
We also see that each time Mary is mentioned in the gospels,she is always mentioned in relation to Jesus’ birth,passion,death and resurrection. We see thus especially in John,(2:4, 19:25-27).
When the union of the Trinity and Humanity was about to consummated for the salvation of the world and for the integration of the human family into God’s family, God chose one person out of the whole universe to consummate that union, that person was a woman, was our representative, that woman is Mary. And it is that consummation that we celebrate at Christmas. It began with the wedding of the Holy Spirit and a woman, and the giving birth to of our saviour,through whom we gain citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. It is by that very wedding that she becomes the Mother of the New Creation in Christ, the New Mother of the Living, the New Eve.
So just as it is right and pleasing to God to ask our pastors and friends to pray for us,it is even more pleasing to ask our brothers and sisters in heaven to do so as well,they even do without our asking.
And at the height of this intercessory role is that of Mary,the Mother of Jesus and our Mother too
We are all relevant to God in our unique ways in this family of God in Christ.
So its not about long routes and short routes.
Its not a straight line
It’s about family and love, it’s a circle.
A lot of truths about Mary therefore can be biblically explained, for example, the fact that Mary was conceived without Original Sin of course can be biblically explained, and is revealed when a believer understands how the Bible presents her as the Ark of the New Covenant, a fulfilment of the Old and as the New Eve, a correction of the Old.
First, as the Ark we see that the first Christians especially Luke understands her to be the fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant, when in his gospel, he draws a lot of parallel between the Ark and Mary, these parallels are not mere coincidences.
Note the striking similarities between
2 Samuel 6:2-3 and Luke 1:39
2 Samuel 6:5,15 and Luke 1:42
2 Samuel 6:9 and Luke 1:43
2 Samuel 6:10-12 and Luke 1:56
These alone cause us to see that Luke was trying to tell us something,that in the new Covenant, the Ark of the Old is fulfilled in Mary. We also note that it was immediately after John describes the Ark in his vision of Rev.11:19,that he begins to describe Rev.12:1, a woman clothed with the Sun…Remember that when John wrote this there were no chapter and verses.
When we understand from scripture that what was said of the Ark applied to Mary in a very special way,then we see that when the Bible says in Exodus 25:10,make an ark of incorruptible wood ,it would be fulfilled in her who was to have incorruptible flesh. The Ark was to be made from Incorruptible or Setim Wood, Mary was created Incorruptibly.
We see this very clearly shown in the New Testament in the greeting of the Angel Gabriel, when he said, ‘Hail,Full of Grace’. Firstly for something to be full of grace,it means that there is nothing else in there except grace,for a bottle to be full of sand,it means that there is nothing else inside it except sand. So we see God addressing our lady as full of His grace,a person with sin cannot he described as full of grace.
But secondly, there is something to note about that ‘full of grace’,the Greek word there is Kecharitomene a past participle of Charitoo which means grace, so the angel addresses her with the past participle showing that the Full of grace is not just a momentary full of grace,its a quality of the person being addressed, a quality of our lady,an attribute. And we all know why,because she was to give her flesh and indeed her entire being to the Master of Grace. The bible says in Eph.1:4 that even as he chose in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him.
Secondly, Mary as the New Eve, the scriptures reveal this to us when we consider that in Gen. 2:23, after God had created Eve for Adam, Adam said ‘She shall be called Woman’. And almost throughout John’s Gospel we see Christ calling Mary ‘Woman’, and not just calling her woman but the times He called her woman was in reference to his hour,the moment or time when he was to correct what the first Adam had done and become in himself the New Adam. At each and every moment of this, Mary was present and he addressed her as Woman, we see this first in the Wedding at Cana in John 2 when he said, ‘Woman..my hour has not yet come’. Also on the cross,that tree of the cross that stood to correct the tree of the forbidden fruit, he was there hung upon it,but she was there also,and so he said to her ‘Woman behold thy son’ in John 19. Remember at this point that Eve was referred to by Adam as Mother of all the living in Gen. 3:20, and so Mary as the new Eve becomes the new Mother of All the living, cos in this new covenant,to be alive is to be alive in Christ. John portrays this for us also in his heavenly vision of Rev. 12, in verse 17 he says And the dragon was angry with the Woman and went to wage war on her OFFSPRINGS, those who keep the commandments of God. Therefore the children of the woman are indeed those who keep the commandments of God,the more reason that Woman is Mary.
To finally prove that Mary is the New Eve, we look at John’s Gospel Chapter 1, we all know it the protestants know it,but there is something many of us have failed to see, that John is writing his gospel as the story of recreation in Christ,and so he models it after Genesis 1.
Gen.1:1-in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In John 1:1 he says, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
Then John goes ahead to explain that all things was created by, in and for this word of God,Christ.
We see also that as Genesis narrates the creation, John narrates, Genesis would say the first day, second day, John would say ‘the next day’, John 1:29,- the next day he saw him coming towards him. John 1:35,the next day John was standing with two if his disciples,John 1:43- the next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee, so far we have counted 4 days, the day before the first ‘the next day’ and then three ‘the next days’. Now in John 2:1 we see on the third day, that is, on the third day after those 4 days otherwise saying on the 7th day and what happens on the 7th day of John’s Gospel,the wedding at Cana, and John was very quick to add in John 2:1, and the mother of Jesus was there. The wedding feast. John now narrates how at her request, Jesus gives the couple wine, wine that was to be converted into his blood much later, the blood of redemption. At that wedding of Adam and eve Adam blindly listened to eve and brought sin into the world, at the wedding feast of John 2, Jesus weighs what the woman,the new woman was to say and brought the wine of redemption into the world. Thus gradually the old errors were corrected.
We need to dig deep into scripture to see how these authors of the gospel dramatically conveyed the truths of our faith. Having understood then that Mary is the new eve, we remember that the Old eve was created in original grace and justice,before the fall, so too the new eve was to be created to correct the fall.
Hope to share more of these thoughts with you…..Have a blessed Christmas.!!!