Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More on the ordination of women - Mary as the first priest

Natural light
Mary in St-Sulpice, Paris

Sunday at church (no, not in Paris), the music director managed to get me to sing the alto line of a soprano-alto duet, Ave Maria, by Josef Rheinberger. It's a really pretty piece, and I didn't screw up too badly. The music director also preached the homily on Sunday. I had never seen him preach, but I know he has an amazing brain full of church history, music history, and liturgical history. I really liked his homily about Mary as the first priest.

Here are a few key points that I remember:

1. Within Christianity, there's a range of how people deal with the end of Mary's time on Earth. Roman Catholics believe that Mary was assumed--body and soul--into heaven, and didn't necessarily die. Others believe that she did die, and was buried, and that a small chapel was built at her burial site.

2. "Ave" reverses "Eva." Remember when I wrote about Mary being the new Eve? Yeah, crazy, huh? Ave Maria, thank you for rescuing Eva's (Eve's) assist in the fall of Adam.

3. Mary was a smart cookie. When the angel Gabriel told her God would give her a baby, she had two responses. "Yes," and "Um, how?" She put her trust in God and also willed her intellect to understand God's plan, too. This is in line with the greatest commandment, to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

4. Mary was the first priest. Priests today take food and drink (i.e., bread and wine) and consecrate it into the body and blood of Christ. Mary herself took food and drink and nourished the baby in her womb, the body and blood of Christ.

5. Mary sets a great example for us. She put her trust and intellect in God. She also shows us how to process the Eucharist, as nourishment to pass on to future generations.

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