Mary, The Holy Mother of God (Fr. Simham)
Since we celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God, on New Year’s Day, may we take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year? I pray that the Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary may enrich your lives during the New Year with an abundance of God’s blessings. 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. In 1970, Pope Paul VI instituted the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In his encyclical on devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marialis Cultus, 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.
One of the liturgical acts of the priests in the Temple of Jerusalem was to bless the people after the daily sacrifices and on other solemn occasions. The blessing was a reward for the people’s keeping of the Covenant, and a guarantee that the blessing promised to all nations through Abraham would be fulfilled one day. The words of this blessing given by God to Moses (the blessing of Aaron).
Some among the Christians in Galatia were teaching that Christians still had to keep the Jewish law, even to the point of being circumcised, in order to be saved. Saint Paul argued forcefully that there should be no such requirement, because the coming of Christ had fulfilled the Old Law and annulled it. Christians are freed from the slavery of the Old Law for they have been made children of God.
Today’s Gospel tells us that the first people who came to adore the Baby Jesus were the shepherds. They were taking care of their flocks of sheep when an angel appeared to them and communicated to them the Good News concerning the birth of the Son of God. The angel told them that they should not be afraid. And that is precisely the message that the solemnity we celebrate today brings us. Through this Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, the Church tells us that we should not be afraid, that we should prepare ourselves for the beginning of the New Year by asking Our Lord and our Most Beloved Mother, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, to come to our aid. We should ask her, not just today (although today is an especially important occasion for doing so), but always, to help us to live like people who have been renewed and are ready, with her aid, to identify ourselves more closely with the teachings of the Church and with the Commandments, so that we may follow Christ more closely. Today’s Gospel also mentions that Jesus was given the name Yeshua – “The Lord saves.” The rite of Circumcision unites Mary’s Child with the chosen people and makes him an heir to the promises God made to Abraham — promises to be fulfilled in the Child himself.
1) Let us strive to be pure and holy like our Heavenly Mother. All mothers want their children to inherit or acquire their good qualities. Hence, let us honor Mary, our Heavenly Mother, by practicing her virtues of Faith, obedience, purity and humble service.
2) Let us make the New Year meaningful
7 Ups for the New Year
1) WAKE UP–Begin the day thanking the Lord. It is His day. Rejoice in it.
2) LOOK-UP–Open your eyes to the Lord Jesus. Ask for his strength and blessings for the day through the anointing of his Holy Spirit. After all, he is your only Savior.
3) DRESS-UP–Put on a smile. It improves your looks. It says something about your attitude. It enables Jesus living within you smile at others.
4) SHUT-UP–Watch your tongue. Don’t gossip. Don’t be judgmental. Say nice things. Learn to listen to others with love. Be sympathetic.
5) STAND-UP–Take a stand for what you believe. Resist evil. Do good. Have the courage of your Christian convictions by practicing what you believe.
6) REACH-UP–Spend time in prayer by talking to God with your adorations, confessions, thanksgivings and supplications and by listening to Him through attentive reading the Bible and the application of its message to your life.
7) LIFT-UP–Be available to help those in need–serving, supporting, and sharing. Try to find Jesus in others and serve him there by serving them.
Fr. Showreelu Simham