Mission Society of the Philippines



Lk 2:16-21

IT HAS BEEN a habit for many people that, at the start of the New Year, they make some personal resolutions. The New Year is usually a time of planning ahead, aspiring towards ideals, setting ambiguous targets and working to reach those ideals and achieve those targets.

Most people have sensible resolutions. Some decide to devote more time to their family because they noticed that, in the past, they have focused too much on work and thus, neglected family life. Others plan to work more efficiently. Still, others decide to become healthier by dieting and exercising, especially after their festive eating and drinking during the Christmas season. Well, some are diligent, and determined, and therefore, they are able to reach their target But, others are not successful. They were only good in the beginning, but later, they have abandoned their plans.

The gospel today presents Mary to us as a model of the new life in Christ that all of us wish for ourselves in the new year. One of the aspects that we will examine among ourselves is our relationship with God, and specifically, our attitude toward the Word of God. In the gospel passage, we have heard of two qualities of Mary in relation to the Word of God.

Firstly, the gospel says that when the shepherds announced what they have heard from the angels concerning the Child Jesus, “Mary kept all these things.” This means that Mary treasured all the words that she heard from the shepherds through the angels. For Mary, the word of God is of great value. It is very important.

Some of us are amazed at the words of some people. We can often quote these people because we find their words as valuable. But how about the Word of God? Do we also find God’s words valuable? Actually, they are more valuable than the words of men, because they are a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path”. Or as St Peter has commented, the words of Jesus are “words of eternal life.” So, part of our new year’s resolution is to treasure the Word of God.

Secondly, the other attitude of Mary towards the Word of God is one of reflection. The gospel says that Mary was “reflecting on them in her heart.” We would say that Mary was not a passive listener, but an active listener. She ponders on the word that she receives or hears. In the Annunciation event, Mary has reflected on the words that she heard from angel Gabriel. That moment of reflection has led her to ask the angel, “How can this be since I have no relation with a man?” After some enlightenment, she was able to say to the angel, “Let it be done unto me according to your word.” And now, in this gospel passage, she reflected on the words that heard from the angels through the shepherds.

Reflecting on the Word of God is not just a work of the preachers, be it bishops of priests. Ordinary Christians or believers should learn also how to reflect on God’s word. Reflection demands time. Reflection requires prayer because we need the Spirit’s enlightenment. When we reflect on the word of God, we would see its meaning and beauty. Indeed, the Word of God is supremely beautiful.

Our celebration today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. He is the Mother of God simply because she conceived and she gave birth to Jesus who is God. The Solemnity provides a possibility to renew our devotion to Mary, who is also our Mother, for she is the Mother of the Church. As a Mother, Mary has always a heart for us, her children. Thus, we shall renew our devotion to her because she is a mother who has concern and love for us.

We begin the New Year by reflecting on Mary’s humility, faith and obedience to God’s will. We shall commit ourselves to imitating her openness to God's will, and her love for Christ and the Church. AMEN.

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