The Solemnity of
Mary, the Mother of God

January 1, 2018 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

We give thanks to God for the grace of starting the New Year. The passage from the Old Year to the New Year is celebrated with joy and excitement. We make toasts. We wish our relatives and friends all the best. This new beginning is experienced as a time of grace and enthusiasm. Immense possibilities are before us.  As Christians, all beginnings should remind us of the true and only beginning that surpasses every other: “In the beginning there was the Word” (Jn 1:1). That is why we come to Mass on this holy day of obligation to celebrate Mary as the Mother of God.

Today’s Gospel says that Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were amazed by what was happening. The beginning of everything had become flesh. The birth of Jesus was a new beginning, a new creation. With this newborn baby, infinite possibilities in human history were opened. As the Gospel says: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).

The Church starts the New Year by celebrating the Feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. In Mary, we see how fruitful life can be.  We want the New Year to be great, to fulfill all our expectations. We aim for a fruitful year. Therefore, what should our resolutions be? We need to imitate Mary. She received the Word of God without raising any obstacles. From the beginning, her answer to the Word of God was “Yes.” We need to identify with Mary’s heart, in which she reflected upon all things. In order for our lives to become fruitful, we need to reflect on the Word of God. Like Mary, we need to discover the secret meaning of the events in our lives.

We need to connect what happens to us to Christ. This requires reflection, personal work that no one else can do for us.  The greatness of the year that starts today depends not on our doing something unusual or extraordinary but on doing whatever we have to do, confronting whatever we have to face, living in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, while connecting with Christ. Mary is our model, the example to follow: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

We need to look to Mary. We need to identify our hearts with hers. Living in Mary’s company is essential for following Jesus. We need to pray to Mary and with Mary. For me, the recitation of the Rosary every morning before Mass, the Angelus said three times a day and the Memorare before sleeping are moments to experience Mary’s intercession, to help us grow closer to Christ and find the strength to follow His path.

As we start the New Year, let us ask the Mother of God to obtain the grace of a very fruitful year for us. May we experience Mary’s intercession in all the circumstances of our lives. Through her, may we always find the presence of God’s love.  Amen.