Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2018

Christmas is such a wonderful time, full of laughter, partying, gift-giving and blessings. The peace we experience belies the turmoil that rages around us in the world. We continue to look at the manger scene—so peaceful and serene, and the Christ child—so simple and innocent. Who would have thought that three decades later, Jesus would be rejected, tortured and killed?

We look at Mary—sweet and radiant Mother Mary. With joy she gave birth to Jesus, and with joy she and Joseph presented him in the Temple. But Simeon, even as he exulted in the presence of the Messiah, spoke troubling words to her: “and you yourself a sword will pierce” (Lk 2:35a). Who would have thought that three decades later, Mary would see her Son suffer rejection, betrayal, abandonment, derision and torture?

In fact, after we have just celebrated the Nativity of Jesus on December 25, we celebrate feasts and memorials that are challenging, to say the least.

  • December 26 – Stephen, the first martyr.
  • December 27 – John the Apostle, exiled at Patmos.
  • December 28 – The Holy Innocents, massacred by Herod.
  • December 29 – St Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr.

Then on December 31, the last day of the year, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. This points us to our vision and charism, which is renewing the family and defending life. Our life and work is founded on the coming of Christ, and we are Couples for Christ. Our goal is to help preserve, defend, renew and strengthen the Christian family. To that end, we do rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization, which work engages us in great challenges, bringing oppression, persecution, suffering and pain.

Christ suffered for us; we too will suffer for Christ. As we encounter the ever deepening darkness in the world, we can always look back to the radiance of the star that shone on the manger in Bethlehem. We know that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1:5). We stand on the truth of the Incarnation. “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Lk 1:11).

As we start a new year, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, ponder all these realities, just like Mary. “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19). Thus be encouraged in our struggle. Jesus the Savior is born. Know who he truly is. “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 1:32-33). Such is the greatness of our God.

This is the Jesus whom we proclaim to the world. This is Jesus in whose steps we follow. This is Jesus whose cross we, and so many other saints and martyrs before us, have embraced.

It is a new year. Let us go forth in the power of the Spirit and win this world for Christ.

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