NEW YEAR, MARY, MOTHER OF GOD. Nm 6:22-27, Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
A Catholic pastor in a small Alabama city of mostly Southern Baptist Christians decided to put up a Christmas crib in the town square. The priest with some of his prominent parishioners approached some rich people and businesses for donation. When they went to see the rich editor of the local newspaper the priest explained the project: “Many people, especially the children will be inspired to see Jesus, Mary and Joseph and animals right here in the center of the town.” The editor agreed to help on condition that Mary must be left out. Otherwise, it would be promoting your Catholic denomination. The priest said: “Tell you what. Tell me how you can show a birth without a mother, and I will agree to leave Mary out.” The editor had no answer and the Mother was with her Child in the town square.
In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said that no subject in our Faith needs to be approached more delicately than this, and one of the reasons he cited was that Catholics have a natural affection for Mary, and when Mary is attacked, Lewis says that Catholics respond with that “chivalrous sensibility that a man feels when the honor of his mother or his beloved is at stake.” Lewis says that Catholics feel this way about Mary “very naturally,” but there is one person who feels that way about Mary even more naturally than we do: her literal Son according to the flesh — Jesus Christ. As the obedient, infinitely Holy, Son of God, the Lord Jesus was a very firm believer in the commandment to honor one’s father and mother. So, if we were to talk about Mary in an impious manner then we would be offending not only Mary but also Christ by denying his mother the glory that he himself gave her.
Today’s Feast of Mary, the Mother of God is a very appropriate way to begin a new year. This celebration reminds us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is also our Heavenly Mother. The Church puts the feast of this solemnity on the first day of the New Year to emphasize the importance of Mary’s role in the life of Christ and of the Church. In celebrating her special feast day, we acknowledge this great gift for the Church and world; we call on her to be actively involved in our daily life; we imitate her virtuous life as a great inspiration; and we cooperate with all the graces we get through her. As he was dying on the cross, Jesus gave us the precious gift of His own mother to be our Heavenly Mother. Therefore the Church has had a very strong love and intercession to Mary, Mother of God.
A senior priest went to his bishop with this complaint: “Now I have great difficulty in preaching. I cannot get the people's attention." After stroking his chin His Excellency suggested: "Say something striking at the beginning of your homily." "Could you give me an example?" begged the old padre. "Well," suggested the bishop, "you might start like this: 'I am in love'; 'I am in love with a married woman'; 'Her name is Mary'". Next Sunday the priest started his sermon thus: "The bishop is in love'; He is in love with a married woman'. After an embarrassing pause the priest continued: "But I have forgotten her name."
We can honor Mary by cultivating an interior life like hers. Mary meditated on, that is, thought about and prayed over, the events of her life in relation to God’s plan of salvation. Her words at the wedding feast of Cana reveal her basic orientation, which we can apply to ourselves: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
Today in Holy Communion we will receive the Body of Christ, which was formed in the womb of Mary. When we do, let's ask our spiritual Mother to teach us how to take care of the precious faith we have received just as she took care of the baby Jesus.
New year day is the time for us to look back and thank God for all the blessings of the passing year and looking forward to and pray for a very good new year enabling us to live glorifying God. “Lord, for all that has been, Thanks! For all that will be, Yes!” said Dag Hammersjshold. There is a proverb:“Cherish your yesterdays, dream your tomorrows, but live your today." This becomes easier when we make God the center of our life and realize His presence in all the people around us. Just as the moon borrows the sun’s light to illuminate the earth, we must radiate the Light of God shining within us.
The lessons from the failures in our lives should help us to avoid the things led to failures and do things differently to achieve success. Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
One man called his parents to wish them a happy New Year, his dad answered the phone. "Well, Dad, what’s your New Year’s resolution?" he asked him. "To make your mother as happy as I can all year," he answered proudly. Then his mom got on, and he said, "What’s your resolution, Mom?" "To see that your dad keeps his New Year’s resolution."
Our new year resolutions should pertain us and directing to control our actions not of others. Because my happiness rests on my decisions, my attitudes and my actions.
In the first reading, God gives Moses and Aaron the formula they should use while conferring the Divine blessing upon the Israelites. Let’s use the same to bless everyone who will come across our path: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace: today and every day of the new year.