Mary, Model of all Mothers

01-01-2017HomiliesRev. Bala Barnabas Duniya

History has it that, on the first of January Christians celebrate several festive events. We celebrate, first of all, New Year's Day; then we think of the circumcision of Jesus which took place, Luke tells us, eight days after his birth (Lk.2:21); the day was later on dedicated to Mary Mother of God, and finally in 1968 Pope Paul VI chose January 1st as the "World Day of Peace". Today we celebrate the unparalleled and incomparable greatness of God that made Him to stoop so low and call one of His own creatures, Mary, to be the Mother of His Son Jesus, our Redeemer. Faith and the obedience of Mary enabled her to listen and respond to the invitation of God.

For Mary there was nothing greater than obeying the will of God and surrendering herself to the plan of God. She celebrated the greatness of God by singing the 'Magnificat' in which she prophesied, "All generations will call me blessed." This is also echoed in the exclamation of the woman from the crowd who, after listening to Jesus, said, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that suckled you", and Jesus responded to this by saying "more blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it."

These two utterances communicate Mary's seriousness to her commitment and the way she lived her life in obedience to the will and plan of God. When we listen to the word of God and live accordingly, we too shall be blessed and remain the beloved of God. As we begin the New Year, let us pray for a Mary-like faith and attitudesin our lives that we may ever remain open and committed to living and giving the word of God.

The angel's message to the shepherds indicates the significance of Jesus' Birth. He is no ordinary child, but the Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord and His coming into the world brings the best of gifts-praise of God's glory and peace to humanity. Hence the great significance of the Adoration and Testimony of the shepherds (Lk.2:17-18). We must note this that: the shepherds are Israelites while the Magi are Gentiles. The Circumcision of Jesus was a sign of joining the covenant of Israel as a descendant of Abraham (Lk.1:59-66). In the first reading, therefore, we are celebrating: The smiling of God; The shining face of God; The blessings of God; The peace of God which includes the idea of prosperity and happiness and lastly, the interior harmonyand integrity derived from our personal union with God that made us adhere to His will (Is.9:5; 32:17).

St. Paul emphasized both the divinity and humanity of Christ and his Birth "under the Law" as an obedient Jew. Paul maintained that, only Christ could perfectly fulfil the Law, and he took upon himself the curse of the Law, replacing it with the New Law of grace (Gal.3:10). Christ sacrificed himself freely for humanity so that he can ransom us back to God, for proof that we are children of heaven (Gal.4:4-5; Mk.1:1, 11 & Lk1:55, 68).

The "Abba Father" indicates our intimate relationship with God the Father by reason of our incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, through Baptism, we become adopted sons and daughters of God and are able to call upon him as "our Father" (1 Cor.12:3 & Gal.4:6).

Baptism gives us the grace of new birth in God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit. For those who bear God's Spirit is led to the Word that is to the Son and the Son presents them to the Father, and the Father confers incorruptibility on them. And it is impossible to see God's Son without the Spirit, and no one can approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of God'sSon is obtained through the Holy Spirit. Welcome to the New Year of God's...