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Dec 30, 2017 Written by  Rev. Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God Be the first to comment!

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Theme: God bless and keep us

In many countries around the world family members gather to receive blessings from God and from each other. Both old and the newly born want to begin the New Year under protection and grace from above. In a similar way; we are invited today to come together so that we can be blessed. This blessing installs on us love, hope and faith so that we can have life in its fullness.

First reading: Numbers 6:22-27

According to a collection of rabbinic archives that were compiled around 200 BC; this blessing is said to have been given by God to Moses in order to bless the Israelites. The same type of prayer was recited daily in the temple at Jerusalem by the priest on duty over the people in attendance. It was believed that this blessing caused material welfare and spiritual peace. Through it, crops would yield in plenty; herds would multiply, weather would be reasonable, individuals would be safe and military victories would be guaranteed. A shining face was a sign of joy and a favor towards the others. cf. Numbers 6:24-26. To lift up the face was an expression implying that no action could break the bonds between persons or between people and God cf. 2 Samuel 2:22. A lifted face was a permanent posture between God and humankind constituted the ground for peace. Those upon whom God’s face shined would live a privileged life.

When pronouncing this blessing upon the people, the priests referred to as Aaron invoked God’s name upon the Israelites which was regarded as identical with the person who bore it. This prayer therefore implied a real presence of God constantly blessing people. Within it the Israelites would be privileged to live and move and find the meaning. Although the book of Numbers in its present form has undergone editing, it is believed that this blessing is original. Portions of this blessing prayer appear on two small silver scroll amulets that were found in a tomb in Jerusalem from the seventh century B.C. The wearing of the name of God on an amulet was a sign that one acknowledged God’s authority and provenance over life. As this New Year beginning with similar blessing over us, we need to believe that it is God blessing us. Our duty is to translate this blessing into good and sustainable actions.

Second readings: Galatians 4:4-7

Galatians is a brief communiqué with a powerful impact upon the life and thinking of the Church. With less than 150 verses it continues to be influential in regard to issues of freedom and belief, Gospel and law, spirit and flesh, ethics and licentiousness. As we search for inspiration and guidance we need to be mindful of two things: What is God teaching us today? What should we do to be compatible with the message? It appears that much depends on our attitude and disposition.  Paul was well received by Galatians when an undetermined physical ailment necessitated him to stay in their area. He attests that he had been welcomed “as an angel of God, as Jesus Christ” Galatians 4:13-15. Because of their generous acceptance, Paul preached the Gospel to them and was heartened by their enthusiastic response. Later, when they were being swayed by Judaizers and ultraconservative Christians, Paul reminded them of their initial welcome of the Gospel and exhorted them not to be misled by those false teachers who wished to foist Judaism and its practices upon them.

In order to thwart their plans and strengthen their faith, Paul wrote with great intensity. His anger and frustration are clearly evident as he defends the Gospel and his authority as God’s apostle to preach it. Although emotional, his message is orderly and clear with an intention to convince Galatians of the supreme authority of the Gospel of grace that has led them to believe cf. Galatians 1:6. This is the same authority that redirected Paul’s life and sent him to preach the good news to gentiles cf. Galatians 1:11-17. The priority of grace means that salvation is not determined by law but by God’s gift appropriated to all who believe making them God’s adopted children cf. Galatians 2:15-21. Through this turn of events, God’s children are no longer slaves but heirs who are privileged to call God Abba papa daddy and Father. As God’s beloved, graced and blessed sons and daughters we share in all that Jesus enjoys with God. If we were only to realize the implications of this gift; how powerful would it affect the way we live and love one another! Joy is not an outcome of vacuum but an action prompted by grace.

Gospel: Luke 2:16-21

Unique to Luke’s Gospel is the mention of shepherds first seeking out and then reporting on finding Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in the manger at Bethlehem. Ordinarily, such announcements and the subsequent acts of glorifying and praising God were a privilege of great poets and respected orators. Nevertheless, Luke tells us that this honorable task was delegated to shepherds who were not only among the poorest of the poor but were even considered immoral and living outside the law. As their livelihood often required, they trespassed on the property of others, poached off another’s water source in order to tend and feed their flocks at times by force. By specifying that such characters were the first to see and report and then glorify God for the birth of Jesus, Luke was, in dramatic effect, declaring that the prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled that “the lowly shall have the good news proclaimed to them” Isaiah 61:1

Also fulfilled in this text is the word spoken to Mary by the angel messenger. On that occasion of the angel’s annunciation, Mary was told, “behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall name him Jesus” Luke 1:31. That very name, Joshua in Aramaic Jeshua which means ‘Yahweh is salvation’, is the name by which identified Jesus and his mission. Through him, God will truly effect the salvation of all of sinful humankind. Mary’s role within this context is consonant with her role throughout the Gospels. By her humility, trust and dependence on God she teaches all how to be disciples. Luke expresses her attitude carefully: ‘she treasured’ all that was happening in her heart. She does not allow fear of what she does not know to paralyze her. Rather, she stored up in her heart what she did not comprehend and in a spirit of trust and wonder she returned from time to time to visit them and recommit them to God.

Mary will interpret these puzzling events after the ascension when Jesus has been enthroned in heaven. As part of the community that had gathered to await the gift of Jesus’ Spirit at Pentecost cf. Acts 1:14, Mary will hear her Son proclaimed as “Lord, Messiah, Savior” Acts 2:36; it is here that she will come to know fully what the angel’s words meant for her that “blessed is she who hears the word of God and keeps it” Luke 11:28. Today we need to resolve to entrust our future into God’s will, to dispel fear, to dismiss hopelessness so that our plans and good attempts can remain secure under God’s blessing. As we start on another year filled with surprises and at times uncertainties, let us trust that God is still in charge of our history.

Application

As we enter into this New Year, we pray the following words for blessings on our homes loved ones, family, friends and places of work: Lord our God, You whose home is in heaven and on earth, come and bless us. Surround this Country with your Holy Spirit; encompass all its boarders with the power of your protection so that no evil or harm will come near. Shield us from destruction, life storms, sickness, accidents, joblessness and all that might bring evil to us who live in this nation.

Bless our doorway may all who come be treated with respect and kindness

Bless our sitting rooms may we truly sit within them as people of peace

Bless our rooms may each of them be holy and filled with the spirit of happiness; may the dark powers never be given shelter within any of these rooms but banished as soon as they are recognized

Bless our kitchen and all that prepare our meals, may we have enough to eat joyfully, may anger and bitterness never poison the meals prepared here

Bless the place where we eat may all our meals nourish and satisfy

Bless our bathroom may spirits of health and healing abide here and teach us to love our bodies

Bless our bedrooms may we find rest, refreshment, love and renewal

Bless all our means of transport, shoes, motorcycles, cars, buses, trucks, aero planes and boats, may they reach safely to our planned destination

Let us pause and pray in silence as each of us calls down the holy blessing of God.

 

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Sunday Masses

Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

Crowd possible, please don't be late! May God bless you!

About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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