HAPPY NEW YEAR-2017
As I write this week’s pastor’s column or blog, I cannot help but reflect on my first Christmas with my new family. I can say with the most heartfelt joy and love that I could not be more proud of the family of faith of which I am humbled to have the awesome opportunity to serve. I wish to extend my utmost gratitude and thanks: from all those who gave of their time this Christmas to decorate our beautiful church, our young people who enhanced and made the 4 p.m. Christmas Mass so special, our music ministry, our servers, lectors, ushers, Eucharistic ministers to those who gathered with us possibly for the first time or decided to come home to celebrate with us. Your
witness, your example and your faith has been and will always be
an inspiration to me as we seek to deepen and grow our faith
together. I can’t wait to begin our Lenten Journey through the
Lamb’s Supper, which truly is Heaven on Earth.
As we gathered this weekend, it seems like just yesterday that I arrived, and here we are preparing to celebrate and indeed are celebrating a New Year. Happy 2017!!!
Why one might ask, do we have this Solemnity of Mary on New Year’s Day? One might also ask, what does it add to the various other Marian feasts? What this feast celebrates is the
title of Mary “Theotokos,”Greek for “God-bearer.” On this Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, not only does our celebration speak to our hearts of her role as mother and as the
very first tabernacle but it also expresses and celebrates her role
as first and foremost a disciple of her Son. In fact, her very first
words in the gospel of Luke were her response to the angel
Gabriel at the Annunciation: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the
Lord. May it be done unto me according to your word.” And
while she was the very first disciple, she was also the very first
contemplative as there was no way she could have fully known
all of the implications of her Fiat (her “Yes!”). Still, her response
was not mindless, as we hear: “She kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
Those of us today who strive to be disciples of Jesus can learn much from reflecting on the discipleship of Mary. This reflection can be the deepest form of prayer. This reflection can speak to our sincere gratitude for the blessings of our faith. This reflection can assist us in lettng God’s word to penetrate and get inside of us.
Clearly, on this Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Theotokos, God-bearer, we are both called and invited to follow her example and “reflect on these things in our hearts.” We may think about what it means to be “blessed.” Yes, we know that like Mary, our lives can also have hard days and many days of suffering and loss. It is at these moments in our lives, that Mary constantly invites us to reach out to her, to pray to her for her courage to keep the faith alive in spite of the pain and sorrow of loss and loneliness.
When we do that, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, will seek us out, wrap us up in the mantle of her maternal love and comfort us as any mother would do. Then she will clean us off, freshen us up and lead us to her Son. Finally, she will present us to her Son and let Jesus also embrace us with His healing and love so we may hear those blessed words, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master’s house.” “Hail Mary Full of grace the Lord is with thee, Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.” May God bless you and protect you & your families throughout this New Year……JMJ…..Fr. Bob