Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

The evening of December 31 had always given me a certain – well, uncertainty. What would the world be like in the morning, or would the world be any different when that little ball dropped in Times Square? That uncertainty held with it a certain fear: what would the new year hold?

However, the next day, as soon as I went to Mass, I felt much better about the upcoming year, having been reminded that God has everything in the palm of His hand, so there is nothing to fear.

For others, New Year’s Day holds a certain hope, a chance for each of us to start over again, a fresh start, a new beginning. Our God wants us to have hope. That is why He sent His Son, so that we may have hope, not just hope for a better year, but hope for salvation. We are of the same mind with our Lord when we yearn for peace, peace in our homes, peace in our hearts and peace in our world.

What we encounter in our Gospel reading today is a scene of peace, a serene excitement and joy. The shepherds, having heard of the birth of the Savior from no less than a heavenly host of angels, made haste to see for themselves. Such peace, hope and joy overcame them that they had to share it with everyone who would listen.

And in the midst of all this excitement, Mary sat, with Child on her lap, pondering all that had transpired. God did not give Mary the whole picture of what was going to happen to her or to her child. If God told us how our lives would turn out, we probably wouldn’t be able to handle it. But Jesus was special. He was meant to be the Salvation for the whole world. Simeon the prophet waited his whole life to witness the coming of the Messiah, and when he did, he thanked the Lord God and told Mary of the importance that this child was to be for the world, and how she would share in His suffering. So Mary knew it was not going to be easy. Yet, she persevered. She trusted in God and in the calling that God had chosen for her.

What was Mary pondering in her heart as she witnessed the shepherds coming to pay homage to the Christ child? Perhaps, how the Almighty has done great things for her and how holy He is. How truly blessed we are to be counted among the heirs with Christ by adoption of the heavenly kingdom. God has done great things for us. We are truly blessed.

Our Prince of Peace Jesus Christ came through the “Queen of Peace,” Mary, His Mother. Since by our baptism we have been adopted into the family of Jesus Christ, Mary becomes our mother as well. If we are to experience peace in our hearts, homes and world, we must find that peace through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ; and what better way to find the Prince of Peace, than through the Queen of Peace, Mary, His Mother. Jesus entrusted Himself to her care. Thus she proves herself trustworthy to also care for us.

Just as any mother collects keepsakes of her children’s accomplishments, so Mary collected all these events in her memory and treasured them in her heart.

And in the same moment that Jesus entrusted His Mother to the care of John, His beloved disciple, by the same action, He entrusts His Mother to us.

There are always many opportunities to entrust ourselves in the care of Mary, that she may place us with her Son. This coming Thursday, during our normal Holy Hour at 6:00pm, we will have a special time of prayer in honor of our Blessed Mother.

So let us not despair or be anxious at what this New Year will bring. Let God’s face shine upon us. Let the Christ child give us hope for a future of peace, and let that peace first work in our hearts, so that it might show forth in our homes, so that if we all work together it might shine forth in our world.

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