Reflection on the New Year Day -Solemnity of Mary- Mother of God
The New Year begins in the Church today with the celebration of the Octave of Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Words of blessing and peace greet us from the Book of Numbers:
The Lord bless and keep you
The Lord let his face shine upon you
And be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and
Give you peace !
How important it is to hear and experience this blessing, believing that a God is indeed neither us as we mark the beginning of another year! What a difference it makes to view the New a Year within the context of God’s loving and saving presence ! Even the most faith-filled believer finds that human hopes and desires for union with God are continually exceeded by the reality of God’s presence with us.
The fullness of God’s blessing in our lives is experienced in the proportion to the openness of our hearts and the depth of our faith. The message of God’s total love for us revealed in the coming of Jesus as the Word made flesh comes to be understood more fully as we live the Christian life. It is our choice year after year, day after day , to accept the grace and peace assured us as we face the responsibilities with which modern life confronts us . In this Christmas season, we continue to celebrate this wondrous mystery of the with a Incarnation with a special focus today on Mary, Mother of God.
Mary, in simple humility and profound trust in God, accepted the invitation to be mother of the Incarnation Word, Jesus the Christ. Mary was not able, any more than we are, to comprehend fully this mystery of God’s love for the human community. With a faith uniquely strong and deep, Mary could and did believe that a human person – a woman- was called by God to participate thus in his redemptive plan. Mary accepted God’s choice of her as the one through whom the ultimate expression of God’s love of humanity would become human flesh as her child, Jesus.
In the gospel we are told of the shepherds who ready response to the message of God’s presence in their midst was blessed with an understanding of the significance of this seemingly simple birth. As Mary continued to experience the unfolding revelation of this mystery, Saint Matthew says:” Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart.”
On January 1 each year the secular press and television media would have us focus our view of the New Year, on the many potentially frightening and depressing predictions for the coming year. Often with a strong tone of cynicism the New Year’s editorial and future articles discuss the tradition of making resolutions. They place the emphasis on the poor record of accomplishment many people report for fulfilling resolutions beyond a few days of weeks. This encounters with the” bad news” of human failure strongly contrast with the ” good news” of today’s readings. As Christians, we we believe in an celebrate the desire and potential to grow and change – that is inherent in the human person. Good has, and will, prevail over evil because God is with us.
Perhaps the first resolution Christians ought to make each New Year’s Day, is to confirm and deepen their faith in God’s presence with us in Jesus. The good news of the Scriptures today is that we begin this New Year with God believing in us, and speaking words of blessing and peace. If we were to make the resolution of this year while ” pondering in our hearts” the blessings we have known thus far as Christians, we would begin with a new and freeing energy and hopefulness. In faith we can be as open to the working of God’s grace in us as we’re Mary and the shepherds of the first Christmas season. As this year begins we are invited to image God blessing us with all the gifts of this earth and human life, and especially with Jesus, born of Mary, in whom we know God’s presence fully.
May you and your family have a blessed and happy New Year!
Your brother in Christ.