1st Jan, Feast of Mary Mother of God Year C

Introduction
Our scripture today reminds us that we are the family of God gathered here. We have a father and mother in heaven who looks after us. Lets confess any ways we fail those loving parents..

Homily
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world; mothers are the backbone of society. A good mother, or a good father, is priceless. Today’s feast of Mary, mother of God and our mother, gives us a perfect model for parents. For God choose for Jesus and us a wonderful humble loving village girl as mother. “He hath looked on his servant in her lowliness”, Mary says. She drew a wider lesson from God’s choice: “he hath cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly”. God’s choice of Mary is a testimony against worldly values. It says The important people in our world are not the wealthy and powerful but those who do God’s will with generous hearts. They seldom receive worldly praise; saintly nuns, kind carers, good fathers and mothers, faithful parishioners, keen nurses and doctors; the sick who offer up their sufferings. They earn God’s eternal reward.
At Jesus’s conception there were plenty of the opposite – rich, powerful, self-serving lords and ladies – Herod’s wife for example. God didn’t ask her to be his mother, and she didn’t come to worship Jesus. But humble shepherds came to proclaim God as a baby in a stable. They knelt before a poor obscure, single village woman, his mother. Think of it! Our salvation hinged on her “yes”. But she could give only one reply? For the angel expressed God will and her life had been spent in his service.
That’s the message for us today. To cop ourselves on. For our sense that we’re here to serve God and fellow human beings can fade if we invest too much in self and wealth. I remember when I was abroad, the commercialism blinded me; Christmas was good if sales were up. St. Stephen’s day, decorations came down – and it was straight into sales. At least in Ireland we still have the 12 days of Christmas, extended holidays, family gathering, midnight mass, the crib in our homes. But is that changing too? maybe!
If so we should resist it, for the season is about being faithful to God’s humane values as against those of a ruthless self-serving world. I’m certain that many are doing precisely that; I don’t at all agree with the pessimists. They show lack of faith in the Lord and his holy spirit at work in our world. I’m sure that in many modern-day Bethlehems, overlooked by the world, God is even now preparing saints to light up our darkening world as Mary lit up hers. People with humble, generous hearts who answer God’s call and are the key to life. Look at the difference Mary’s yes made. Because of it Christ was born and the long-term victory of God and goodness was ensured. So good people all, hang in there as his faithful no matter what the world throws at you.
That word “the faithful” is a wonderful term, and its just what Mary was. God still looks to people like ourselves, the Marys of today, to do his word with as willing a heart. People who serve him and others in hospitals, at home, or as the faithful in parishes like our own. Praying people, dedicated social workers, Vincent de Paul volunteers, pastoral carers, priests, nuns; these are the Marys of God’s Kingdom today. Humble faithful Christians who birth Jesus in a world every bit as troubled, violent and sinful as it was in Mary’s time. “Behold the servant of the Lord”, let each of us say that each day. For that lord is love, goodness, happiness for this world and forever and ever, amen
So as the people of God called to serve God and others with humble and joyful hearts in the midst of our sometimes dark and troubled world let us make our profession of faith….

Prayers of the Faithful:

And as God’s family lets pray confidently to Him for what we need..

For the Pope, and all leaders of the churches that they may serve God and all his people with humble care and love like Mary did..

For all those who govern us that they may not lord it over the people but give humble, honest and equal service to all..

For our youth that, like Mary, they may serve God and others with generous and unpretentious hearts..

For ourselves in our trials and difficulties, that we may turn to Mary our mother, and mother of the church, at all times, and ask for her healing help always…

For the sick, the old, the lonely, and the oppressed that through our love and care they may experience the love of Christ…

For the dead that they may come to their heavenly home with the help of our communal and personal prayers for them..

Reflection
The story of Lourdes gives a good image of what Mary is like. There she came to a poor frail girl and addressed her with great gentleness and love: “would you do me the kindness to come here..”. Bernadette says she was very beautiful but also very young, very humble and all radiant with light. That’s our gentle mother. Each of us are her beloved children as brothers and sisters of Christ, and how happy we should be to be her children. So always confident of her care, we pray “Hail Mary…”.

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