The Faith of Mary

Luke 2:16-21
Nm 6: 22-27/ Ps 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’s mother.
May her example draw us near
To the Infant lying in the manger.

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. (Luke 2:16-21)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Mary 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 to register) at a time when she was about to give birth. All the inns were fully booked, and they had been forced to take shelter in a cave, fit only 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 them a visit, bearing gifts fit only for a king.

A new year is again upon us. How fast 2012 seemed to pass, and yet just a month ago, it had seemed to take forever to end. I guess we’re just relieved that that tragedy-filled year is over, and it’s now time to look forward to a better year and a future filled with more confidence. Indeed the last months of the year had been full of doubts, death and destruction: the threat of China contesting our maritime sovereignty; the controversial RH Bill; the knock-out defeat of our boxing icon; the mass killings of children in America; and the devastating effects of the typhoon Pablo. But all bad things do pass, and now the signs of the times are looking up again. How did we survive 2012? It was simply our strong faith as a Catholic nation.

As Catholics, we are 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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