January 1, 2017 – New Year’s Day

Today’s Celebration: Mary, Mother of God

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Numbers 6:22-27   –   Psalm 67   –   Galatians 4:4-7   –   Luke 2:16-21

“May God, who through the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary willed in his great kindness to redeem the human race, be pleased to enrich you with his blessing.” (The Solemn Blessing of today’s Liturgy)

In recent times the liturgy for New Year’s Day has had various foci: The Holy Name of Jesus; World Day of Peace; & now Mary, Mother of God. Perhaps it is most fitting as it now stands since we are at the beginning of a new year. It’s a time to let the old ways fade away as a new era begins. Thus the reading from Numbers asks God’s blessing on us that the face of God would shine upon us and be gracious to us. Mary ushers in a new season and yet she, as Mother of God, is not exempt from living in a broken world with all its uncertainty – “This child shall be the cause of the rise & fall of many” and “Mary held all these things in her heart.” A heart that a sword had pierced. Gosh, if I were asked to be the Mother of God (all things being equal) I’d right away start thinking about all the “perks” that might come my way because I said “Yes” to the angel. Yet, the reality is quickly put in its rightful place: if Mary, the Mother of God has to walk in this world and see & experience the suffering that her son had to experience how should we expect to breeze through life without any trials.

Still we stand here at the beginning of a New Year – 2017 – and let go of this past with its vivid, painful memories – of wars and the suffering of people in all corners of our world – and boldly embrace the unknown New Year. Like Mary, we don’t know what it will be like. Still she picked up the baby Jesus and went back to her home town to raise Him as best she could amidst all kinds of uncertainties.  Can we not ask for that same grace to walk as best we can into this New year?”

The Lord bless you & keep you! The Lord let His face shine upon you and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly & give you Peace. Amen!

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