Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jan. 1, 2016: Mary, Mother of God

Jan. 1, 2016: Mary, Mother of God

Click to hear Audio Homily
Recently I presided at an interesting wedding. Have you ever been to a wedding where the guests arriving at the church were welcomed by an Irish bagpipe player in his full kilt? And who gets married on the second to the last day of the year? The timing of their wedding spoke much about what was happening to their lives. Their lives as two independent individuals were coming to a close as they began the new year by making a commitment to merge the pathways of their lives and forge a new journey together as a family.

This time of the year, we get reflective about what happened this past year. We may ask ourselves, “What are things that happened to me this past year for which I am grateful? What are some of the regrets? How will next year be for me?” We may be hopeful for the new year; we may also be apprehensive about this coming year. Is there a reason for us not to be apprehensive or fearful of this new year? The Church celebrates the beginning of the new year with the feast honoring the divine motherhood of Blessed Mother as a reminder that the journey we take this coming year will not be done on our own but together with God’s family. St. Paul in the Second Reading and the Gospel reminds us that we have a special place in God’s plan as adopted brothers and sisters of God’s own Son. God has planned this from all eternity, by sending his Son to redeem us and to lead us to the Father. He also gave us the Holy Spirit so that we would no longer act on our own but with the power of Christ and his Spirit. Thus we are entitled to share in the same inheritance as the Son, an eternal place with the Son in his Father’s house. Blessed Mother brought Jesus into our human family, and through the sheer gift of our Heavenly Father, she brings us into the divine family.

Blessed Mother, as our Heavenly Mother, teaches us to place our trust in Jesus who leads us day by day. Whenever we face fear of the unknown, she comforts us just as she did with St. Juan Diego when she said, “Do not be distressed, my littlest son. Am I not here with you who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?” She teaches us to ponder everything that happens to us before we make a hasty decision. She teaches us how to pray. All of her earthly life, in the silence of her heart, she listened and spoke to God. In the Rosary, she invites us into that garden of silence to listen, to ponder, and to speak to our loving Father.

This year, let us resolve to place our trust in Jesus and Blessed Mother, so that whatever the situation in which we find ourselves – a hardship, a disappointment, a decision to make – we will listen, ponder, and pray that we will take a small trusting step toward God’s plan for us this year.

-Fr. Paul Yi