Numbers 6:22-27 / Galatians 4:4-7 / Luke 2:16-31
If I were to wish you “Merry Christmas” you may think I am out-of-time. We may think that Christmas is already over, and I should be wishing you “Happy New Year”!
Yes I know that today is the first day of 2018. But Christmas is not over yet. Because Christmas is celebrated for eight days in what is called the Christmas Octave, with today being the last day, and it concludes with the feast of Mary, the Mother of God.
The mystery of the Incarnation, the God-becoming-man at Christmas is meditated upon for eight days, with Mary coming in at the last day under the title of Mother of God.
That title, which goes back to the year 431, says much about who Mary is, but it also says much more about who Jesus is – that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
But of course all this may sound rather lofty for most of us. We came for Mass today not because we understand all that, not because it is a public holiday, but more because it is the first day of the new year. We came to ask for God’s blessings and we also want to ask for Mother Mary’s intercession.
And surely the Lord will bless us. The 1st reading tells us that the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say this to Aaron and his sons: “This is how you are to bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”
This is how they are to call down my name on the sons of Israel, and I will bless them.’
Yes, the Lord our God will bless us in more ways that we can think of. But like Mary, we have to treasure all these blessings and ponder them in our hearts and wait for them to be fulfilled.
Blessings are like seeds that are sown in our hearts and we have to wait for them to germinate and bear fruit.
Like Mary, we ponder and wait and water those seeds of blessings with prayer, and as we wait for God’s blessings to be fulfilled, those blessings will also WAIT – Will Arrive In Time.
Later after Mass, we will go in procession to Mary’s Shrine and there we will pray the Rosary. It is to remind us that in praying the Rosary, we pray and wait with hope that God’s blessings “will arrive in time” for our needs.
And instead of making New Year resolutions, let us write our petitions and offer them to God through the intercession of Mary our Mother.
May the Lord bless our petitions. May the Lord let His face shine on us and be gracious to us.
May the Lord uncover His face to us and bring us peace.