Posted by: geolocke | 2015/01/02

New Year’s Day 2015

Lord, my heart is not proud;
nor are my eyes haughty.
I do not bother myself with great matters,
with things too sublime for me.
Rather, I have stilled my soul,
hushed it like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.
Israel, hope in the Lord,
now and forever.

Psalm 131

It has now been one week since Christmas, and the Church calls us back on New Year’s day to celebrate the solemnity of “Mary, the Mother of God.” On this day the Church also prays for World Peace. Both of these go hand in hand, although they are sometimes misunderstood.

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke relates the story of the Shepherds as they visit the stable in Bethlehem and relate the message announced to them by the Angel. In the stable they find the Holy Family; Joseph, Mary and the Christ Child lying in the manger. Mary will hold this small child close to her as she nurses him. She will hold this same child close to her as the family flees to safety in Egypt, escaping from Herod’s terrible madness. Mary will hold this child after Herod’s death when the family returns from Egypt to settle in Nazareth. Mary will clasp this child tight to her when he is found in the Temple after three days of searching.

Mary will hold her child close in her heart as she watches him grow into manhood and begins his ministry. She will hold him in high esteem during the wedding feast at Cana when she asks him to help the bride and groom, and then directs the servants to do whatever her son tells them to do. Mary will hold her son in care and concern as his ministry begins to upset the Scribes and the Pharisees.

All these things and more Mary will hold in her heart as she watches helplessly while her son is betrayed, beaten, tortured, mocked and reviled, even though her heart is pierced with pain, as if a sword was passing through her. Mary beholds her son, Jesus Christ, as he hangs on the Cross, helpless to do anything but remember the words that she uttered many years before, words that she has held in her heart since that day so very long ago, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Mary holds her son in unshakable love as Jesus gives her to the Apostle whom he loved, and through him, to the Church and all of us who proclaim Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The mother of Christ is now our mother too.

Mary will hold her child once more after he dies on the Cross, when he is taken down and placed in her arms one last time. This same child whom she bore in a stable and laid to rest in a manger she now clasps tight to her once again in grief and agony before he is laid to rest in a cold stone tomb. Then she held the Apostles and Disciples in her heart as she waited and grieved with them through the long Sabbath that followed. And Mary’s heart held them all in their joy, wonder, and amazement as they beheld her son Jesus Christ after he broke the bonds of death and arose once more on that first Easter morn.

When her son came to us to show us his Father’s way of Love for us; When every effort of violence was thrown at him, and yet he spoke not a word in anger or defense, When he hung upon the Cross and forgave us because we did not know what we were doing, Mary was by her son’s side. Mary had a more intimate knowledge of her son than anyone else, other than The Father and The Holy Spirit, and in her heart she herself felt every blow that struck Jesus, every thorn that pierced his brow, the nails that pierced his hands and feet, and the lance that pierced his side. And on that first Easter Morning her joy and love and happiness were more than anyone can or could imagine. Can we honestly say that anyone has felt a pain quite like hers, or a joy as wondrous as hers?

Now Mary is our mother, and she prays for us her adopted children, and she prays for peace for the world. She prays for a peace that her son strove so hard to make us understand was real and achievable, if only we would follow in the way of The Father. So why do we come back to the Church on New Year’s day to honor Mary and pray for world peace? How can we not do so?


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