Honor Mary, Our Mother

Luke 2: 16-21
Num 6:22-27 / Psa 67/ Gal 4:4-7

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
(Luke 2:19)

Lord, on this first day of the year,
We honor Mary, Jesus’ mother.
May her example draw us near
To our Lord lying in the manger.

And the shepherds went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:16-21)


In today’s Gospel of Luke, Mary, the mother of Jesus took the time to reflect on the strange events surrounding her Son’s birth. It had not been easy traveling from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, (in obedience to a Roman decree) at a time when she was about to give birth. All the inns were full, and they had been forced to take shelter in a cave, a pen for horses and cattle. But this humble and strong lady took it all in stride, happy in the thought that despite all the miserable conditions she was being subjected to, she was the mother of the Messiah, the Lord and Savior of all mankind. Sure enough, her confidence was confirmed by shepherds who came to give homage to her Son. They told her about the hordes of angels who had proclaimed His birth. And soon after the magi from far-off lands would also pay tribute, bearing gifts fit only for a king.

Happy New Year! How fast time seems to fly, and yet how we had wished the year that was would have ended sooner. The past year will be remembered (or better forgotten) as the year of the “global meltdown” when hundreds of thousands of companies and individuals went bankrupt. It was also marked by the evils of corruption in high places, and the financial woes of thousands of investors duped by the greedy pyramiding schemes of a few. We also witnessed the glory that a prizefighter brought to our country overshadowed by the gory massacre of 57 innocent people by a warlord with close ties to the highest official of the country. That year was also scarred by the worst natural disasters (typhoons, floods and a volcanic eruption) that have displaced thousands of families.

Since that tumultuous year is over, it is now time to look forward to a better year and a future filled with more confidence. Thank God for the resiliency of our people. In spite of all our troubles and difficulties, a recent survey showed that 60% of Filipinos still believe things will get better this year. Perhaps it is because as Catholics we feel fortunate to have Mary as our model of faith and perseverance. She accepted without doubt the words of the angel during the Annunciation, just as she never wavered in the trials of Calvary. Pope John Paul II was a great devotee of our Mother Mary. In his homily at the turn of the millennium, he said we must be like the Mother of God, always reflecting in our hearts to be grateful for all past events, whether ill or fortunate; to live the present with exuberance (“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord”); and to look forward to the future with hope and confidence. And why not, indeed, when we believe that we have a loving and constant Father in heaven, and a Mother who will intercede for us in our times of need?

Father, as we plan our New Year’s resolutions today, we ask for the guidance of Your Holy Spirit, and for the intercession of our Mother Mary, our ideal of faith. Amen.


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