SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
Readings: Nm 6, 22-27 / Gal. 4, 4-7 / Lk. 2: 16 - 21
"So, they came hurriedly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby lying in the manger. On seeing this they related what they had been told about the child and all were astonished on hearing the shepherds.
As for Mary, she treasured all these messages and continually pondered over them."
What are we looking for at the dawn of the new year? How can we shift from desiring for prosperity and wealth to something more profound, much greater, for ourselves, our country, and for the rest of humanity?
The picture of the BELEN is always a sign of contradiction for those who are thinking in terms of more prosperity, power, and influence for the new year. Jesus chose this backdrop for Christmas so that we who are celebrating it annually may ground ourselves in its real essense.
The components are: the resting place for animals, the manger filled with straw, the presence of a lowly couple rejected by the innkeepers, and the visiting shepherds. And at the center is a small, defenseless Son of God, wrapped in swaddling clothes while the angels sing, "Gloria in excelsis Deo!"
Notice too that sense of wonder and praise among the shepherds, as happiness engulfs them upon seeing the child, and Mary pondering all these things in her heart, for the reality of salvation is present in this humble scene, and God is here to bless the whole world and lead everyone back to Himself.
Could it be that this same picture can guide us to face the new year and the next - if people would rid themselves of any selfishness and greed and just open their hearts to the Divine and to others in total generosity? Otherwise, we shall be experiencing a worsening poverty year after year and the future becoming bleaker each passing year.
Could this picture guide each of us to focus our efforts to multiplying what emanates from the Christ Child, with all His love being poured unto us? Imagine every family member, parents and children, oriented to helping everyone, especially the poor, so that no one would be found wanting. Imagine a world where generosity abounds and where selfless love is the true basis for being.
We have so much to do then. Let the new year not be a time for self-development, self-resolution, and even self-survival, but a time of self-giving.
Join Mary as she ponders all these things in her heart, that in this lowly scene, salvation for all can still be totally possible.