January 1, 2016
Numbers 6:22-27 ~ The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace.
Galatians 4:4-7 ~ God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
Luke 2:16-21 ~ The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
What is the message of good news of great joy all about? What is there to be amazed about?
It is important to meditate like Mary, the Mother of Jesus our Lord. She kept all these things and reflected on them in her heart.
In the first reading, Moses hands on the blessing from God, but now God bestows the blessing in person. The Lord bless you and keep you. The angels kept telling them over and over, “Do not be afraid!” God keeps us in his arms and heart. “The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.” God is like a mother and father with their newborn child, smiling at us and gifting us with their love. “The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace.” There is nothing to be afraid of when parents love their children unconditionally.
So now we are beginning to understand an adult Christmas. This is not an artificial Christmas (Christ-Mass). This is the real deal. This baby, who is now an adult, breathes on us the unconditional love that he received at his birth and from his parents and God. Jesus tells us not to be afraid.
Mary might have prayed and reflected in her heart like this. “The shepherds teach me that my Son is not mine alone. God has given him not only to me, but to the world. I must reflect in my heart on this Mystery. It is too big for me to grasp. I know this newborn Son has already changed my life. I guess he will continue to change me. I beg that I can be a good mother, helping my newborn Son grow into the man who God wants him to be. I beg that I can have the strength to stand by him in any hour of need. I beg to reflect on this Mystery in my heart, and know it is God’s will for me. I beg to trust the Mystery.”
This prayer of Our Mother was a most costly prayer. She was told by Simeon at his presentation, “And you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts and hearts of many will be revealed.” It takes a very special mother to take on this responsibility.
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” “Momma, Mother!” So you are no longer slaves, but daughters and sons of God the Father and his Beloved Mary.
And now each of us can bless the whole world with the blessing and gifts we have received from our Heavenly Father and Mother.
“I, (state your name), bless you and keep you in my heart.
I let my face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
I look upon you kindly and give you peace.”
So let us return glorifying and praising God like the shepherds for all that we have heard and seen just as it has been told to us.
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains … Gloria In excelsis Deo
Shepherd’s, why this jubilee
Why your joyous song prolong
What the gladsome tidings be,
That inspire your heavenly, heavenly song … Gloria In excelsis Deo
You see, the Christ-Mass (Christmas) never ends. We take it with us. Thanks be to God!