Mary, Mother of God - Solemnity 2023

Blessed to be a blessing on a new adventure

Readings: Num 6, 22-27; Ps 67, 2-8; Gal 4,4-7; Lk 2, 16-21

The first day of the year offers us a beautiful opportunity to let ourselves be blessed by God for the journey ahead of us. It is important to note that the new year is God`s gift of grace to us (we have not merited it). Even if we are uncertain about what the year holds for us, we have the certainty God is in charge. Celebrating the solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, we ask God to bless us, especially with peace. Let us be open to receive God`s blessing!

The first reading from the Book of Numbers uses the Hebrew expression: “to let one`s face shine upon you” which means “smiling”. At the beginning of the year, we have the opportunity of encountering God smiling at us. He does this because He loves us. What we call blessing is traced back to the very origin of creation. The first creation account in Gen 1 recounts how God looked at what He had created and saw that it was good. After creating the human being as male and female, God saw that it was very good (Gen 1, 31). He blessed them and gave them a mandate of being fruitful. The human being was blessed in order to be a blessing to the rest of creation. Even when God`s original blessing seemed to be lost through the crack of sin, God chose some human beings through whom He could continue blessing others. God told Abram: “I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing…All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.” (Gen 12, 2-3). The priestly blessing that Aaron imparts is a way of presenting God`s love to the people. God is blessing us with the assurance that He will sustain us and that we shall experience His generosity in giving us what we need in order to live in joy and peace. As recipients of this blessing, we are called to be channels of the same blessing. Our blessing may be in form of a good and encouraging word, a simple act of charity, quality time to listen to a lonely person and readiness to forgive. Let us allow God to smile at us so that we may be a cause of the smile on someone else`s face!

St. Paul writing to the Galatians (second reading) speaks about the great gift of Christ`s coming into the world. This is a gift which should make us all smile. Christ`s coming brings us a sense of relief. We do not have to carry the burden of our sins anymore. We are told to remember that we are no longer slaves of our past; we have the chance to look forward to a future (new year) that comes out of God`s hand. We are children of the promise and we know that God is faithful to His promises (not like many powerful men and women who make empty promises and never fulfil them). We are all heirs to the graces that God wants to give us in our being followers of His Son Jesus Christ. Apart from being our own brother, He is our journey companion. Let us not be stuck in our past but also not in the fears and anxieties of the future. God is in charge. Are there wounds and bruises from the past year? Let us allow God`s face to shine on them so as to enter into the new year as healed persons!

The Gospel presents to us Mary the Mother of the Saviour who treasured everything in her heart. Mary is indeed blessed among all human beings because she carried the treasure (Christ the Son of God) in her immaculate womb. She was favoured so that God`s favour may come upon us all. There were indeed many events for Mary to reflect on in her heart. At the beginning of the year, we also have memories to be treasured and reflected upon. These should make us aware of God`s gracious presence in the journey that we have ended. We are invited to treasure the good and holy things in our past (perhaps they are God`s footprints on our journey) and find ways of sharing our treasure with those around us. It is a time to count our blessings and be thankful to God the source of all blessings and each other as the channels of blessings. Only God knows what this year has in store for us. Our faith in God is inviting us to stand as empty vessels ready to receive everything from His hand. He will certainly continue smiling at us and if there will be moments when we shall have to weep; He will certainly wipe away our tears. We stand on promises that cannot fail because they are made by our faithful God. Rooted in the love of God, let us venture on with faith and hope!

A blessing-filled year to you all!


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