Feast of Holy Mary, The New Eve
January 30, 2021 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today, we celebrate the Mass of Holy Mary, the New Eve.
Since the second century, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been seen by the Church as the new Eve or the new woman, intimately associated with Christ, the new Adam in the work of salvation. Saint John Paul II wrote: “The comparison Eve-Mary constantly recurs in the course of reflection on the deposit of faith received from divine Revelation. It is one of the themes frequently taken up by the Fathers, ecclesiastical writers and theologians” (MD 11).
St. Justin wrote: “For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, ‘Be it unto me according to your word.’” (Dialogue with Trypho, 100, A.D. 160)
St. Irenaeus says: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by Mary’s obedience. The bonds fastened by the virgin Eve through disbelief were untied by the virgin Mary through faith” (St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, 3:22,4: Sch, no. 34, p.82).
Eve’s unbelief and disobedience contrast with Mary’s faith and obedience. Eve followed the serpent, while Mary followed the Archangel Gabriel: “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Eve’s disobedience brought death to the world, while Mary’s obedience to God’s will is the beginning of the renewal of all things. As today’s Alleluia refrain says, “Glorious are you, Holy Mary, the new Eve. From you the new Adam, Christ Jesus, was born.”
In today’s Gospel Jesus says: “‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come’” (Jn 2:4). Jesus calls his mother “woman” to show us Mary as the new mother of the living. From the cross, he calls to his mother in the same way: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son’” (Jn 19:26). In John, all mankind is represented. At the foot of the cross, Mary truly becomes the New Eve, the “mother of the living.” Pope Francis said: “In this moment, beneath the Cross, Mary gave birth to the Church and to all of us.”
“Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). God has a plan to make all things new. He wants to renew our lives: “John saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away” (Rev 21:1).
In today’s Gospel, the new wine is the new life of the gospel. Today’s communion antiphon says: “Blessed are you, Virgin Mary: through you God has given us the Savior of the world, through you Christ has prepared the new wine of the Church. The good wine is the new creation, the world transformed by Christ.
Through Mary’s heart, everything is renewed. Today’s preface says that Mary is the new woman because she is the woman who finds joy in the service of God, she is attentive to the voice of the Spirit, she is obedient to the word, she is fruitful in her motherhood, she stands firm in adversity, and now she is glorious in God.
Mary is the firstfruits of the new creation. She was the first person to experience the new life Christ brought to the world: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). What happened to Mary is a promise for us, too. Evil has been conquered and God is fulfilling his plans.
May Holy Mary, the New Eve, help us to reject the old ways of sin and to renew our hearts. May she help us to embrace the new life of the gospel. May we be obedient to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and grow more and more each day in the likeness of Christ. May the increase of devotion to Mary obtain for us the grace to see ourselves and all things as being fulfilled in Christ, the second Adam, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
Dialogue with Trypho
Dialogue with Trypho