Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God 2012

Today is a good day for thinking about Mary, not just because this is her feast, but because she shows us how to face this New Year. As the New Year begins, Christians do exactly what Mary did when faced with the events of that first Christmas. In joy, she treasured her Son, but reflected on all these events in her heart. Because this is, as Paul says in the second reading, the fullness of time[1], we rejoice because of the presence of Christ with us. These are the end times, not in the sense of the imminent end of the world, but, instead, in the sense that we are in the final age when Christ is revealed to the world.

This morning we remember that Mary was asked to believe that she was going to change the world, and there she was, giving birth in a stable, riding on the back of a donkey, destined to live years in Nazareth as a seemingly ordinary wife and mom. But she believed that God told her the truth. She reflected on that. And the more she thought and prayed, the stronger she became. That’s our challenge this morning–to believe in God, to trust that this New Year, people will open wide the doors to Christ so that those lost in darkness will find a place to call home.

In the past two thousand years, Mary’s task has been to bring Christ to people. Today, we are asked to do the same. When Pope John Paul II was consecrated Pope, his most famous words in his homily were these, “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ!”[2] Mary is the God-bearer, and yet, she is also spiritually a mother to all whom Jesus came to save. In other words, as she brought forth Christ and watched over him so she watches over all those who spiritually are born children of God. She asks that we follow her example in bringing Christ to those who have not heard his voice.

If we can face the challenges ahead of us this New Year with hope, then we can really change the lives of our families, friends, fellow-workers–even the entire world. Here’s what each of us has to do:

1.    Be confident in your faith–it is true; Christ has truly come and is still with us and will come again.

2.    Recognize your obligation to spread the Good News.  “Open wide the doors to Christ” means not only opening your own heart to be touched by God, but also, letting people know your personal experience of Jesus and Church. Of course we are not perfect. We sin. But we are still called to fight evil in all its forms. In whatever way we can, we hold up the light of Christ in order to banish the darkness.

3.    Reflect on what God has done for you. Never forget what Mary did–she gained strength from prayer and reflection. Changing the world takes a lot of energy. Prayer and frequent Communion is the way we get strength.

4.    Decide what you are going to do this New Year to open wide the doors to Christ. Don’t squander this chance. They will be writing about us a thousand years from now if Christ delays his coming. What will they say about you? Will they even know you existed? Will Christ be able to stand up and say, “This person made a difference. He/she may not have been famous in the world’s eyes but I know what he/she did and it mattered to me. It made the world a better place, and helped spread my Gospel to the nations.”  

My brother, my sister, let us face the New Year with joy, for God is with us, Christ is leading us, the Holy Spirit is guiding us.

Let us open wide the doors to Christ our Lord; let his healing love and grace set us free, today, tonight, tomorrow and throughout the Year of our Lord 2012 ■

[1] Cfr Gal 4:4-7.
[2] October 22, 1978.

Ilustration: Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967), Rooms by the Sea, 1951, Oil on canvas, 29 1/4 x 40 in. (74.3 x 101.6 cm)

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris