Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: January 1, 2020
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Can you please look at the persons near you and say to that person, “God bless you!” The words “TO BLESS AND BLESSING” are mentioned in the Old Testament 552 times and 65 times in the New Testament. From the very beginning God blessed all his creatures. This is an evidence that God has blessed every day and every moment of our lives.
As we gathered today, we thank the Lord for the many blessings we have received. We also celebrate January 1 and begin a new year, we are filled with hope, new aspirations, and resolutions for the new year that has come that it may be favorable and bring more blessings to us.
For many centuries our Church designated the 1st day of the year with the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Today’s solemnity invites us to capture the real hope and the great blessing that has come upon us, to each of us.
The Book of Numbers reminds us of God’s blessing being invoked upon his people. Moses is told by the Lord to convey to Aaron and his sons that the Lord blesses and protects them. This is God’s promise that shall never be forgotten.
God never forgets his promises. God is always true to his words. God’s great blessing is manifested in the birth of the Son of Mary. He is the promised savior of the world who brings peace in our hearts and homes. His name is Jesus, which means “Yahweh Saves.”
This blessing is brought to us through Mary. Her “Yes” to God makes it possible for us despite her many hardships. Mary from Nazareth knows no riches or privileges in her lifetime. Nobody has ever lived, suffered and died in greater simplicity, marked by a strong and simple faith. And amidst of these, she is the Theotokos¸ the mother and bearer of God to the world and to each of us.
What is also interesting in our Gospel is that, this great blessing was first received by people who were not so important in the Jewish society. They were at the lowest class, deprived of social recognition and poor. They were the shepherds yet have been blessed with the revelation from an angel. That revelation gave them the joy to knock every door in Bethlehem until they found the baby with Mary and Joseph. They have captured in their hearts the hope of salvation for they have seen the face of God.
With joy, the shepherds brought the blessing to others they met on the road. They became preachers and witnesses of God’s blessing.
It is only rightful also that as we hope for more blessings to come to us in this New Year, let this Solemnity of Mary’s motherhood be a reminder to each of us. God has already blessed us with good things and plenty. Count them!
As Mary is able to bring Jesus to us and the shepherd able to preach the blessing that they have received, we too are called to bring Jesus to others. To bring blessing and not curse. To hope for blessing not just for ourselves but especially for those who are most needy, to those whom we dislike and our enemies. So that in the days to come and in this whole year of 2020, we may always become a blessing to everyone. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR