HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD (New year’s day)
HOMILY THEME: New Life with Our Mother
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
HOMILY: Lk 2:16-21
Happy New Year to all!
The first day of the year is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The early Christians already called her “Theotokos”, which means “God-bearer”, for indeed, she bore in her womb the Son of God. She is called Mother of God, not in the sense that she is the source of the life of God, for she is not. She is called Mother of God not because she is higher than God, for she is just a creature. She is called Mother of God simply because she bore in her womb and gave birth to Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal God.
As we begin the New Year, the Church invites us to honor Mary, the Mother of God. Just as human life starts in the womb of our mothers, so also we begin another year with the mother of all humankind, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
All of us can easily resonate with the experience of having a mother. The thought of a mother always gives a soothing and peaceful feeling to every human being. We can still recall her tender and loving voice as she sings lullabies to us; her soft hands caressing our hair as we snuggle in her warm embrace; the sweet aroma from the kitchen as she prepares dinner for the family. We often say “Home sweet home”, and this is primarily due to the sweetness and comfort that only a mother can give.
Jesus, the Son of God, experienced this with His mother, Mary. And He wanted to share this wonderful experience with us. That is why, while He was hanging on the cross, He entrusted His mother to us to be our mother also. We have, therefore, our own mother in Mary. As she lovingly cared for Jesus, she also takes care of us as her beloved children. What a consolation and a joy for us!
For most of us, we enter the New Year with some trepidation and worries. The pandemic and the health and economic problems it brings, the dangers of calamities and disasters and the threats of terrorism make the coming New Year look bleak and dreary.
Unfortunately, instead of turning to God in prayer, many people choose to spend the first hours of the New Year by making noise, popping firecrackers and even firing guns, and in revelry and drunkenness. These are not just simple superstitions but are practices of pagans who do not believe in God.
But as Christians, we begin the New Year with God. That is why we come together to pray in this Eucharistic celebration. We look back at the past year, and thank and praise God for His protection and all the blessings He has given us. And as we look ahead to the new year, we implore His continued providential guidance and presence in our life. We take courage from the words of Saint Paul: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
And we also begin the New Year with Mary, the Mother of God, and our Mother too. We gaze upon the image of the Baby Jesus, sleeping so soundly in the arms of His Mother. He invites us to do the same. Let us go to Mary our Mother. Let us take refuge in the comfort and protection of her loving embrace.
Rightly, then, that the first day of the year is World Day of Prayer for Peace. We come together to pray for peace in the world. We ask Jesus, the King of Peace, to be with us. We do this in confidence because we know that Mary, our loving Mother is with us. Full of trust in God’s providence and protection, we enter the New Year filled with hope, joy and peace.
At the start of this year, let us earnestly invoke God’s blessing on us and on our loved ones with the words of blessing in the first reading:
“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!”
And so, we pray: “God our Father, Yours is the beauty of creation and the good things You have given us. Help us to begin this year joyfully in Your Name and to spend it in loving service of You and our neighbors. Amen.”
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches