Happy New Year – and Happy Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. The readings for today’s Mass can be found at: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/010115.cfm Thanks as always for reading, for sharing, and your feedback. My prayers and blessings to you and yours for a happy and healthy new year…God Bless, Fr. Jim
Probably one of the most difficult things, hardest things, challenging things for us as human beings to do in life is “letting go” of old hurts. How often have we heard someone say, or even said ourselves “What you did to me – to my family, to my friends – I cannot forgive that or forget …” Often times those things aren’t over arbitrary squabbles… they come from a place of real pain and hurt.
When we think about it, this isn’t just a challenge on a person to person level. With some distance and objectivity, sometimes you can see how groups of people, even countries can hold onto past grievances with the desire that “maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow… but someday, they will pay for this.” When it comes to our being wronged, it is amazing how efficient our memory is. Individually or collectively, memories can go back decades, even centuries, old and looking for revenge.
The thing is, the anger, the bitterness, the vile that we can allow ourselves to hold onto, which at first is something unpleasant; in time becomes part of who we are and in a sense we grow comfortable to it in a sense we allow it to change who we are.
Rather than trying to conceive of another “new years resolution” the scriptures today invite us to look at this New Years Day and ask ourselves an important question: What is it that we’re holding onto in our hearts?
Because, even though as you go pass Malls and see Christmas items reduced to 75% off and Valentines Day displays popping up (seriously – I saw it myself, Brookdale ShopRite on December 26th, already had Valentines cards out so you can beat the rush) as Christmas trees are discarded and Christmas music disappears from airwaves, the Church is still basking in the wonder of this Feast. We are still trying to unpack the wonder of the magnitude of this great Christmas gift God the Father has bestowed on us -the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. And right in the middle of this ongoing celebration, as we reflect on his humble, meager beginnings, our gaze today goes to Mary, the Mother of God. In this feast, one of the lines that jumps out from the Gospel is that all of these amazing things that occurred in the birth of Jesus that we’ve been celebrating – St. Luke says very simply and profoundly – Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
It was the joyous, miraculous, wondrous things she kept in her heart.
-There’s no mention of her remembering the check-in guy at the Inn who wouldn’t let a pregnant woman ready to give birth a place to stay for the night.
– We don’t hear Mary complaining that the best this guy Joseph can do is find this smelly place where animals are kept for her firstborn child to be born.
– She’s not wondering who will get even with those who worked with diabolical fervor to try to destroy this child (and killed thousands of other innocents in the attempt to do so).
Mary treasures the amazing things – she allows those memories to fill her heart and in doing that, well, that leaves no room for the disappointments, angers and hurts. With that, Mary’s soul simply, beautifully and eternally glorifies and praises God.
What about you and I? Here on this New Year, we have yet another opportunity, another chance to start over again (it seems we get so many of them, doesn’t it?) Are we willing to let go of whatever it is that hurts, that angers, that we continue to feed?
Mary, the Mother of God – and our mother gives us a parental example, a pattern to follow which can change our entire outlook of the year that has past and all that is to come. To treasure, to embrace, to keep in our hearts all of the glorious ways our God is actively blessing us. In doing that, we are called to forgive those who have “sinned” against us and not allow that negativity to have any more space in our lives. To not bring those burdens with us into this new year of 2015. Mary our Mother challenges us not to think about making that type of move, but to do it… today. In making her example our reality we find that we can truly give birth to Christ in our lives, in our families, in our workplaces, in our world…and not simply say it, but truly have a Happy New Year