Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God – Fr. Pete Iorio
December 31, 2019 – 6:00 PM
We are about to begin a new year and a new decade, and we do it with hope and trust as people of faith. Even though it seems so many bad things are happening, people of Christian faith need to have hope. We greet each other with Happy New Year a greeting which shares a desire to all to have happiness and also peace. We certainly do not know what will happen in 2020, but we trust that God is by our side and gives us everything we need to live happily. And for this reason, we begin the new year here in the church or watching the Mass online. There is no better way to put all of our worries into the hands of God. If we have made resolutions, I suggest that at least one be of a spiritual nature. The January issue of the Fatima Faithful has a beautiful article on spiritual resolutions.
Among all of the celebrations during this time, the Church invites us to focus on Mary the Mother of God. At the end of one year and at the beginning of another, we are invited to contemplate her life, to meditate on her actiona dn to learn her attitude about God and about life. For me, the words of today’s Gospel which grab my attention are, “And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.” It could not be any other way for her. The mystery was too huge to be able to capture its meaning without a life of meditation.
So we encounter Mary, a young teen totally wrapped in the Will of God, but without understanding, without knowing how her life would be changing. She had given her “YES”, had accepted a life according to God’s will, had given birth in a manger far from her family, had accepted the poverty of her circumstances and the glory of the angels, had received the visit from the shepherds and finally now in the story from Luke’s Gospel, for sure she is amazed at all of this that had been happening. So, the need to keep all these things and reflect on them in her heart. Through all of her life it was necessary that Mary could capture the unexpected vision of God.
It is similar for us. When we are young, we seek out a course for our life, maybe studying or working or getting married young or not at all. We take on challenges of a career, responsibility of maintaining a family, commitments that are going to cost us more that we could imagine. Perhaps we will accept responsibility for a loved one who cannot take care of themselves because of being incapacitated or ill. Maybe we take responsibility for someone who is in jail. We will spend weeks and months and years trying to understand why God had us in these circumstances and how God is with us in our particular history.
Mary, the Mother of God, had to meditate interiorly in order to understand. It is not just automatically. The sense of life with its joys and sadnesses, comes little by little, in silence, when we try to enter into the presence of God. Mary teaches us to be patient, not only with others, but with ourselves. We can calm ourselves inside our souls, give ourselves moments of silence, and pray for the help of the Holy Spirit.
Meditating this way on a regular basis, the sense of things becomes clearer little by little. So perhaps with meditation, the angry child becomes a proclamation that God continues to renew his presence with the birth of each baby. The sick relative becomes an opportunity for me to demonstrate God’s compassion in the world. The isolated neighbor presents herself as someone that Jesus looks for on the side of the road. The inexplicable circumstances of life give us the possibility of saying our “yes” as Mary and continuing with joy and dedication.
Yes, tomorrow is the first day of the year and of the decade, and an opportunity to learn again as Mary, the Mother of God, to spend time meditating in life to fulfill the invitation God has given us. Like Mary, we can receive the life of her son in our daily life, starting here at Mass with the Holy Eucharist. Happy New Year!