Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
(Number 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21)
January is named after the two-headed Roman god Janus. As with two heads, this month looks back on the old year and forward to the new. Many are doing this today. They see the year gone by as strange, full of uncertainties, and difficult to bear. As if they fought a war, they feel worn-down if not devastated by the Corona-19 virus. They can, however, look forward with hope. People are already being vaccinated. Perhaps in six months enough will be immune to the virus that most restrictive measures will be lifted.
In today’s gospel Mary seems also to look back and forward. She experienced the appearance of an angel telling her that she will be the mother of God’s Son. When her child was born, shepherds came to give homage. Yet she sits in a stable like the poorest people on earth. She probably asks, “What does all this mean?” And trying to imagine the future, she wonders, “What will become of my son?”
As Mary likely did, we should seek the Lord’s blessing on this first day of the new year. The one given in the first reading will certainly do. It offers the benevolent countenance of God to those who kept the law of the Lord. His face is like the brightening sun in January. Every day it provides more light and warmth to nurture new life.