MARY MOTHER OF GOD (New Year-2016)
Today’s Feast of "Mary, the Mother of God" is a very appropriate way to begin a new year. What better way to ring in the New Year than to celebrate the woman whose complete devotion to God played such a central role in our salvation? A Human woman is the mother of God, and God is the son of a human mother.
The gospel today presents Mary to us as a model of that new life in Christ that all of us wish for ourselves in the new year. There we see that Mary was prepared to do something to realize this goal. What did she do? We read that the shepherds, when they went to adore the Child Jesus in the manger, told all that the angels had said to them. "But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). Again after the boy Jesus was found in the Temple, we are told that "His mother treasured all these things in her heart" (Luke 2:51). Mary was a woman who valued the word of God, who treasured it and made time to meditate and ponder it. God did not tell Mary his entire plan. We know much more than she did about how everything was going to work out. She had to walk in the dim light of faith, one step at a time, trusting in God, witnessing his action, and seconding it whenever she could.
It is true that the holiness of Mary is attributed to the grace of God, but this should not make us forget that she needed to make an effort in order to cooperate with the grace of God. She pondered the word of God in order to discern what God was saying to her at every stage in her life as the handmaid of God.
Just as Mary's womb was open to receiving God's living Word at the moment of Christ's Incarnation, so her heart was constantly open to receiving God's ongoing words and messages as he continued to speak through the events of her life.
This capacity and habit of reflecting in our heart on God's action in our lives is both a sign and a source of wisdom. And we can never become mature, courageous, and joyful followers of Christ unless we develop it.
Today's Solemnity reminds us that if we have become Christ's spiritual brothers and sisters, we have also become spiritual children of Mary. She was his mother in the flesh, and she is our mother in grace. And just as we learn from our natural mothers how to be good human beings, so we learn from Mary how to become mature Christians. She is the living school where we learn every virtue that leads to happiness and holiness.
New year comes around with a lot of expectations, but behind them there may be some remorse too. The name "January" comes from the Roman god Janus, the god with two faces, one looking to the past and the other looking to the future. This is indeed a time to look back at the year that has just ended and to look forward to the new year ahead of us. How did I spend this one year of my life that has just passed? Did I use it to advance my goals and objectives in life? Did I use it to enhance the purpose of my existence? Could I have done better last year in the way I invested my time between the demands of work, family, friends and society, and the demands of my spiritual life? We do need to review our lives from year to year because, as Socrates says, the unexamined life is not worth living.
Our lives are shaped much more by our attitude than by our circumstances. Everybody has struggles. My struggles are just more apparent than yours. That’s why I think my troubles are greater than yours.
The good news what lies ahead is no surprise to God. In fact, He has already been where we are going. That reason alone empowers us to face every tomorrow with hope, knowing whatever touches us passes through His hands, with His permission.
Whatever the situation in which we find ourselves - a hardship, a disappointment, a decision to make - God has a solution, an answer that is right for us. We tell God about it in prayer but we also listen to what God has to tell us about it. Prayer is a conversation with God but sometimes all we do is pick up the phone, read out the list of our problems to God and drop the phone without listening to hear what God has to say to us.
Let us today resolve to listen more to the voice of God, to treasure God's word and ponder it in our hearts. Then shall we be able to realize our new year resolution of a new life in union with God. Let us see this year as another chance given to us to get it right, to grow in familiarity with God our loving Father, and to grow in our awareness of ourselves as God’s beloved children.