Mary: Vessel of the New Creation

For International Women’s Day

I have been learning a lot from Benedict XVI’s analysis of the genealogies of Jesus. Here is what is said about Matthew’s genealogy, particularly in reference to Mary:

Yet most important of all is the fact that the genealogy ends with a woman: Mary, who truly marks a new beginning and relativizes the entire genealogy. Her child does not originate from any man, but is a new creation, conceived through the holy Spirit. The genealogy is still important: Joseph is the legal father of Jesus. Through him Jesus belongs by law, ‘legally’, to the house of David. And yet he comes from elsewhere, ‘from above’– from God himself. The mystery of his provenance, his dual origin, confronts us quite concretely. His origin can be named and yet is a mystery. Only God is truly his ‘father.’ The human genealogy has a certain significance in terms of world history. And yet in the end it is Mary, the lowly virgin from Nazareth, in whom a new beginning takes place, in whom human existence starts afresh.

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