Fr. Michael's Thoughts on Biblical Imagery: Theotokos




            As we stand in the first day of the year 2023, it is a testimony of the goodness and mercies of God. A lot of things happened in the year 2022, some worthy of celebration while others have placed some of us in the state of shock and mourning; but the Bible counsels us rightly when we are told to give thanks to God in all occasions.

            The last quarter of 2022 was really challenging especially in the economic sense. Many are those who are still struggling to make ends meet and the President of Ghana was clear in his Christmas message that we are not yet out of the woods. The British King, Charles III gave a similar Christmas message when he spoke of the “great anxiety and hardship” for those struggling to “pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm.”

            A lot of people in the third world, especially in Ghana, are living from hand to mouth with nothing left of their earnings for savings. We thank God for the free senior high school education in Ghana because without that many parents would see their children at home when schools reopen (no money for school fees). Hardship stories can be felt in some western countries especially in Ukraine where some people were left without electric power in their homes on Christmas. 2022 has really cast a shadow that seems to be drifting into 2023 but we trust in our Blessed Mother Mary’s intercession.

            The story is not totally different for the rich. Some of them are making their cry heard because of the economic challenges. Apart from the economic crisis, there still exist the regular challenges of man but in the midst of all these we will remain thankful to God for the gift of 2023 because while there is life there is hope. If our Blessed Mother is known as the bearer of God (Theotokos), then she who was blessed to carry the Almighty God is capable of carrying all our worries in life to her Son. And I hope that anything that the Blessed Mother carries to her Son will not be turned down. Please take a step into 2023 with your Rosary in hand.

            Every year when we get to December 31st, a popular religious slogan that occupies the Ghanaian religious space is “crossing over.” The meaning Christians attach to this slogan has to do with crossing over from the end of one year to the beginning of another year. This “crossing over” religious ceremony has become part and parcel of the Ghanaian Christian calendar to the extent that if Masses are not held on the evening of December 31st  each year, many Catholics may find their way to Protestant and Charismatic church gatherings. At times some Catholics over stay into the late hours of 31st December night to the extent that it affects church attendance on January 1st, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

            I am of the opinion that if we are to embrace this new spirituality of “crossing over” then we should cross over with our Blessed Mother carrying each one of us. If our Blessed Mother was able to carry God, then surely, she can carry us also.

            The simple definition of the term Theotokos is the bearer of God. The theological implication of being the Theotokos was for Mary to be “full of grace.” It was therefore appropriate that the Archangel Gabriel saluted her with those words. The privilege given to Mary is shared with all her children. Being the Mother of God and full of grace, her power of intercession is highly effective. From the event at the wedding feast at Cana that she used her intercessory powers for the first time, one should be hopeful that with Mary’s prayers all will be well with us in 2023.

            It is therefore appropriate that each year our first day is dedicated to our Mother’s intercession. None of us knows what the days in 2023 hold for us but we have faith that if we start the year with our Blessed Mother’s intercession then all will be well.

            If Mary has been given the privilege to be the Theotokos—the bearer of God—and whenever she intercedes for us Jesus listens, then we need to come to her with all our burdens of life. I am making this passionate appeal at the start of a new year because what we hear of late is frightening. In the past it was a general belief that many Africans consult soothsayers for help at the start of every new year but today it is being rumoured that the practice is gaining popularity in the western world. I hear that the practice of witchcraft is on the increase in the western world. If this is true then I would like to vehemently state that these agents of darkness cannot help any person. Rather if a person goes to them to seek help they will complicate things for the person.

            Please instead of you to taking your first step in 2023 in a fetish shrine, I would like to invite you to church for you to take your first step in the house of God. Through the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother, you and your family will be kept safe in 2023 and beyond.

            Based on the faith we have in Mary’s intercession, I would like to beg God to bless all of us with the blessings in today’s first reading:

“May the Lord bless you and keep you! May his face shine upon you, and

be gracious to you! And may the Lord look upon you with kindness and give

you his peace”





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