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At the end of each year, eight days after Christmas day, all Catholics throughout the world gather once again to give thanks for the great blessing that we have received through the birth of God’s Son and to ask him to continue to bless us in the New Year. We hear in the Gospel that eight days after his birth, the infant was given the name Jesus. Today marks the vigil of the eighth day of Christmas. And it marks the beginning of a new year on the secular calendar. And so we dedicate the first day of the year to the Mother of Jesus who is the Mother of God. Mary is the true Mother of God, not because she gave birth to the Holy Trinity, but because she gave birth to Jesus who is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, The only Son of God who, as we pray in the Nicene Creed, is “eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father.”

Jesus first existed as the Son of God. But then he left his Father’s side and came to our world as the Son of Man. St. Paul says in the second reading, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman.” Mary is this woman chosen by God to bring his Son into the world. He trusted her and entrusted to her his most precious possession, his only Son, which means he gave Mary his very self. And that is why we, too, choose her and trust her. Through Mary, God has come to us, and so through her we come to God. Mary is like a living Bible: Many people come to know God through his Word in the Bible. And so many come to know God through the Word made flesh in the Blessed Virgin Mary.

But this doesn’t mean that Mary is God. She is only a human creature, “the handmade of the Lord” as she described herself. Although Mary is made by God’s hands, she became the Mother of God’s Son when through the power of the Holy Spirit he was conceived in her womb. Through her body, God put on human flesh. He got his eyes from her, his facial features, his genetic code. We call this miracle the Incarnation. The Son of God received his human form, his human nature, from his Mother. Although she did not give birth to his divine nature which has existed for all eternity, she did conceive and give birth to his human nature. You can think of a mother who prepares clothes for her child to wear. For example, to get him ready to do his chores she dresses him in his work clothes. Well, Mary dresses the Son of God with a human appearance, with a true human nature, so that he may do his work. And what work is that? What is his chore on earth? Cleaning up the House of God, redeeming mankind from sin, and opening our hearts to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit to make all men sons of God like himself, so that we, too, may call God “Abba, Father,” Papa, Dad! Through Jesus, we, too, become a part of the family of God, with God as our Father, Jesus as our brother, and Mary as our Mother – all united in the love of the Holy Spirit.

Now you may still have confusion with all of this, but that’s natural because we are talking about divine miracles that challenge our natural reason. And that is why we do well to learn from Mary and her reaction to these amazing things. The Gospel says, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” When our mind cannot grasp God’s ways, we can reject them like many do, or we can be like Mary humbly contemplate them in our heart. It is in the silence of the heart where we hear God speak to us and we speak to him.

So today/tonight, let us start the New Year off with a resolution to be more like Mary, to be amazed by the things of God, to pray like her by contemplating all these things in our hearts so that we may be filled with his love and peace. And let us not let the difficulties in life take away the gift of God’s peace, to not worry when we don’t have all the things we want: the perfect relationships, better living arrangements, a lot of material wealth…. Again we look at Mary - all she could do with her newborn baby was to lay him in a manger. But she gave him all her love. And he blessed her with his peace. So we don’t need much if we have Jesus, the Son of God. So let us learn from the Son of God’s Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary who was blessed not with wealth or comforts but with love, grace, and peace. Let us pray that we may be blessed in similar way in this New Year:

The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! Amen.

St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church
101 South College Street
Cedartown, GA 30125
(770) 748-1517
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