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As we begin a new year in our secular calendar (and try to remember that it is now 2023 and no longer 2022), we honor Mary as the Mother of God.
Mary trusted that God would provide for her future. She was grateful that God had done such a great favor for her in asking her to be the mother of his only Son, but early on Simeon predicted that a sword would also pierce her heart. So Mary placed herself under the Lord’s care in all things.
We must also trust that God will provide for us, no matter what comes our way over the next 12 months. From experience, we know that some things over the next year will be great blessings for us — and we should be thankful for every good gift that God gives to us. From the same experience, we know that some things, yet to be revealed to us, will be great challenges — and we must rely on God’s grace to move forward in faith despite the difficulties of life as we pick up these future crosses and follow the Lord with determination.
Still, like the blessing of our First Reading, we ask the Lord to be good to us, our family, friends, other loved ones, and the world too. We ask the Lord to bless us, keep us, shine his face on us, and be gracious to us, looking on us with kindness and giving us his peace. We place those spots of particular darkness before the Lord and ask him to solve what we cannot — it might be a debilitating illness you or someone you love is suffering, an addiction of some kind that is extremely difficult to overcome, certainly we place war torn areas of the world before the Lord. Whatever comes to the top of your mind that needs some help from the Lord, place it before him in a special way today. Then, have the trust of Mary that the Lord will take care of what needs to be done — but always in the Lord’s time, not ours. And when the Lord answers a prayer and brings about a healing, be grateful and let others know what the Lord has done for you.
Finally, Mary, as Mother of God, brought Jesus into this world. She was the first evangelist of the Church. She was not afraid to hold Jesus and proclaim Jesus. We are also asked to be evangelists, not afraid to bring Christ to everything we do and to everyone we meet. May Mary intercede on our behalf to make us better at bringing her Son to the world we inhabit hear and now.
May the new year be a time of spiritual growth for you. And together, as we move through the next 12 months, let us “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” just as Mary does even now from her throne in Heaven. She is speaking to us always of her Son, who was named Jesus, a name that means, “God saves.”
Happy New Year everyone.
And as we now enter into a period of mourning for Pope Emeritus Benedict, I ask you to pray today one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be for the peaceful repose of his soul. We are sad at his passing, but rejoice that he is making the final leg of his pilgrimage “home.”