HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD (1st January)
NEW YEAR EVE 2017: A YEAR FILLED WITH JOY
It has been a year filled with many ups and downs! A year we cannot but thank God for leading us to the very end of it! 2016 is indeed a history that will never repeat itself! A history that can only replay in our memories! A history we can only read in books and other means of information. By His grace, I pray for you and all those dear to you, that the destructive effects of the mistakes of the past year may be erased for us and that the successes be consolidated and perfected in the New Year; Amen.
At the beginning of the last year, we walked with the Holy Mother Church through the “Path of Mercy” as our guiding principle for the year; “be merciful just like your heavenly Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Personally, I experienced and noticed how transformative and uplifting the power of mercy can be; not just in my life but in the lives of those around me! Receiving mercy from God and showing mercy to others can be a great source of recreation and renewal. It can indeed change the face of the world. May His Mercy always abide with us now and always; Amen.
At the very Eve of the New Year I invite you yet to another path that can lead us to behold clearer and brighter the face of God who is constantly inviting us to Himself; “The Path of Joy.” The word of God made it certain that “the joy of the Lord is our Strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). The Path of Joy involves allowing the joy which God never ceases to give us to build its home in us and at the same time making us bearers, sharers and agents of joy to all those around us. Your presence must be able to radiate joy in the faces of those we meet. An agent of joy must make the best effort not to inflict pain on or be a source of sadness to others. An agent of joy is indeed a God bearer, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother; the Mother of God; the Woman with whose Feast we begin every New Year; the Feast of Mary Mother of God. She is indeed the Mother of Our Joy because her son Jesus Christ is the fullness of the Joy that God gives. One thing we must note this night is that we need just to do something simple to bring joy into the life of others! In the case of Mary, a simple visit to her kinswoman Elizabeth brought such an ocean of joy that the child in the womb could not but leap in response. A simple smile, an encouraging word, a little gift of alms, a kind consideration, etc, maybe all we need to do to be sharers of the joy God has deposited in us. Mary has given us that example!
As we begin anew in this NEW YEAR, I wish you joy! Joy like a river into your soul! Joy like a river into your family! Joy like a river into your marriage! Joy like a river into your business and profession! Joy like a river into your Vocation! Joy like a river into every good thing you lay your hands on! Happy New Year filled with joy to you and your household!
-Fr Cyril Unachukwu