January 1, 2015


January 1, 2015:  Mary, Mother of God / World Day of Peace

  • 'Clock' tie bar: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son (2nd reading); New Year
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain: God sent us the Spirit crying out, “Abba, Father!” (2nd reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar: The shepherds rushed to Bethlehem... (gospel)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders: Mary reflected in her heart (gospel); Mary's maternal love (homily)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  World Day of Peace
  • 'Blessed Mother blue' shirt:  Mary, Mother of God
  • 'Streamers' tie:  Happy new year!
  • 'Roses' pin:  today's Rose Parade
  • Christmas season pin

For 1st reading
Pope Francis
  • Homily:  Elizabeth's blessing of Mary (“Blessed are you among women.... my Lord's mother Lord comes to me!?”) is in line with God's blessing given to Moses for everyone (“The Lord bless you,... make his face shine on you,... and give you peace”).  God shined on no one else like on Mary who gave the Word a human face.  We praise and glorify God like the shepherds who saw the Child and his mother, together as they were at Calvary.  Christ's flesh (caro), the hinge (cardo) of our salvation, was knit together inside Mary, who shared his entire mission, inseparable from her Son.  She's so united to him because of the knowledge of faith he gave her, her experience as mother, and their close relationship.  She made room for God; she perceived in her Son God's personal entrance into salvation history.  We can't understand Jesus without his Mother.
Christ and the Church are also inseparable; you can't understand salvation without appreciating the Church as mother.  The Church is God’s family that brings us Christ.  Our faith is a vital relationship with the person of Jesus whom we encounter in the Church that proclaims him.  The Church’s activity and mission expresses her motherhood; like a mother she tenderly holds Jesus and gives him to us with joy.  No manifestation of Christ can be detached from the Church in its historical concreteness, without which Christ becomes an idea, teaching, or feeling, and our relationship with him would be at the mercy of our imagination, interpretations, or moods.
Christ is the blessing for everyone.  Our mission is to spread God’s blessing made flesh in Jesus.  Mary opens the way to the Church’s motherhood and sustains her mission; she's Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and through the Church, everyone's mother.  May she obtain for us the Lord’s blessing on the whole human family.  On this World Day of Peace, we ask her to beg the Lord for peace:  in hearts, in families, among nations.  We're called to be free sons and daughters and to combat modern forms of slavery; may Christ, who became our servant to make us brothers and sisters, guide and sustain us.
  • Angelus:  We fix our gaze on the Mother of Jesus.  Because the Word became flesh in her, we can't contemplate him without contemplating her.  We hear Paul's words, “God sent his Son, born of a woman,” strongly express the Son's humanity.  St. Athanasius affirms, “Our Savior was truly man, and from that comes the salvation of all humanity.”  Paul adds “born under the law,” emphasizing Christ has taken up the human condition, freeing it from the closed, legalistic mentality.  Law without grace becomes an insupportable yoke bad for us. God sent his Son to us to liberate us ("ransom those under the law") and give us new life (“so we might receive adoption”).  At Baptism we become God's children, grafted into Christ and inserted into the Church.  Remember your Baptism day; rediscover the gift that gave you God's life, through Mother Church, which has Mother Mary as model.  We're in communion with God, no longer at the mercy of evil and sin, and receive the Father's love, tenderness, and mercy.
This closeness of God to us gives us peace.  Each of us is called to combat slavery and build fraternity.  Mary, protect us in the new year.  Happy New Year!  May it be one of peace in the tender embrace of the Lord and with Mary's maternal protection.
  • World Day of Peace message, part 2:  Faces of slavery:  Once slavery was accepted, law admitted some people were others' property, and slaves were treated as commercial products; now it's seen as a crime against humanity.  Still, millions are forced to live in conditions like slaves':  'slave' laborers, migrants deprived of freedom and possessions, people abused, unjustly detained, or forced to live clandestinely or agree to disgraceful conditions; people forced into prostitution, sex slavery, or marriage; objects of trafficking; and those held captive by terrorists.
Deeper causes:  Slavery is rooted in a notion that persons can be treated as objects; sin distances us from our neighbors, and we no longer regard them as beings of equal dignity and sharing our humanity.  People created in God's image are deprived of freedom, reduced to property, and treated as means to an end.  Other causes help to explain today's slavery:  poverty, underdevelopment, exclusion, lack of access to education and employment, corrupt people willing to do anything for money, armed conflicts, violence, crime, and terrorism. People are driven to seek an alternative to terrible conditions even at the risk of their dignity and lives; they risk being drawn into a vicious circle. [continued tomorrow]
  • Nm 6:22-27  Lord to Moses:  Bless like this:  The Lord bless you, keep you, shine on you, be gracious to you, look on you kindly, and give you peace!
  • Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8  "May God bless us in his mercy."  May all exult and know your salvation; you rule justly and guide us.
    Wordle: Readings 1-1-15
  • Gal 4:4-7  God sent his Son to ransom those under the law, so we might receive adoption.  God sent the Spirit into our hearts, crying, “Papa!”  So you're not slaves but children and heirs.
  • Lk 2:16-21  The shepherds found Mary, Joseph, and the baby, then shared the message they were told; all were amazed.  Mary reflected on these things.   The shepherds praised God.  The child was given the name Jesus, the name the angel gave before he was conceived.
    • Creighton:  We celebrate Mary because God chose her to be his mother and she's Jesus’ most faithful disciple and our model of discipleship.  She follows him fearlessly amid persecution.  Being Jesus' disciple means keeping him in the center of our hearts and allowing him to guide our thoughts, words, and actions.  As God sent Mary the Spirit and she became his mother, so he sends us the Spirit and we become his children.  Mary teaches us being a disciple is contemplating Jesus and allowing him to transform our thoughts, words and actions.  Mary, grow your son in our hearts!
    • One Bread One Body:  "Adoption papers":  Thank God for choosing to adopt us.  God's adoption turns slavery into freedom, fear into security, deprivation into inheritance, despair into hope, misery into joy, and death into life.
    • Passionist:  Today's feast used to be of Jesus' circumcision, then just "The Octave of Christmas."  The New Year and readings invite us to hope.  Jesus' circumcision inducted him formally into God's people and signified participation in the God-Israel covenant.  "God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so we might receive adoption as God's children."  We can address God intimately:  "Papa!"  In dedicating today to Mary, Paul VI noted it's a chance to contemplate the Christmas message:  "God so loved the world that he sent his only son... that the world be saved through him" (Jn 3:16)—and to do so through Mary's eyes.  Make peace with last year's events, remember God's love for us, and turn to next year with hope and trust.
    • DailyScripture.net:  For the Jews, name giving had great importance; a name expressed a person's being and represented who they should be.  Mary's baby was named Jesus ("the Lord saves"), the name Gabriel gave.  The son Mary bore is both God and man; hence Mary is called both mother of the Christ (Messiah) and mother of God (Gk. Theotokos, "God bearer").  In the birth and naming of Jesus, we see God's plan of giving us a Savior; the name signifies God's presence in his Son who became man for our salvation.  His name is exalted above every other.  The name Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer; we pray to the Father through him in the Spirit.  Do I exalt Jesus' name and pray in his name?

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