1st Reading: Num 6:22-27
The Lord said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
2nd Reading: Gal 4:4-7
Brothers and sisters: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, Glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
MARY MOTHER OF GOD AND MODEL OF PARENTHOOD: The Blessed Virgin Mary is rightly called Mother of God because she gave birth to the child Jesus who is true God and true man. Mary is not only the Mother of God, but a model of parenthood for all mothers. She faced many challenges in bringing up Jesus: she had no bed for the child, so she used a manger. The shepherds made known to the people the birth of the child, and people were amazed and talked a lot about her child. Mary, the good mother, “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). A good mother does not ignore what is said about her child. She keeps all things, reflects and tries to find out how she can make good use of the information, so as to bring out the best for her child.
Prayer: Bless all parents Lord and help them to bring up their children in a manner that is pleasing to you.
FROM PONDERING TO WONDERING: New Year has dawned! “Well begun is half done.” The Church opens the year with the thought of our Blessed Virgin as the Mother of God. Mary is presented at Christmas as the one who pondered. She heard much that puzzled her. In the message of the shepherds, gifts of the Magi, and in the odd conversation with Joseph, they wondered about their child and what would happen to him. However, she did not leave her faith. She is a model of faith for today when faith leaves many questions. Pope Francis says in an interview: ‘In this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. Our life is not given to us like an opera libretto, in which all is written down; but it means going, walking, doing, searching, seeing.’ Like Mary, let us keep pondering about the word of God that we may continue to wonder about the works of God in our life.
LIFE MUST GO ON: In life, we pass through pleasures and pain; sunshine and rain; loss and gain. Yet in all these, we must learn to smile and go ahead. On the very first day of the year, these are the thoughts that must urge us on, “Do not be afraid, I bring you Good News of great joy for all the people (Lk 2:10). This was the message of the angel to the shepherds, a message from God who orders his servant to bless his people; may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord let His face shine upon you (Nm 6: 24-25).This message is stressed by the Mother of God who makes possible a life of sunshine and celebration for all those who place their trust in her Son. Her single direction is, “Do as he tells you.” When dark clouds hover over our lives, when misfortunes never leave us, we are invited to turn to our Mother who makes life start all over again. May we therefore, remind ourselves of our very identity; we are no longer slaves but sons and daughters, therefore, heirs in God’s Kingdom (Gal 4:7).