Cycle B Mary the Mother of God

Num. 6:22-27; Gal. 4:4-7; Lk. 2:16-21

As we stand at the threshold of a brand-new year, it is with heartfelt joy and anticipation that I extend my warmest wishes to you. The turning of the calendar is not merely a mark of time but a canvas awaiting the brushstrokes of our dreams, aspirations, and shared experiences.

Once upon a time, in a quaint village nestled between rolling hills and babbling brooks, there stood an ancient oak tree. This wise old oak had weathered countless seasons, witnessed the passing of generations, and silently observed the ebb and flow of life.

As the villagers gathered at the village square one New Year's Eve, the elder of the community, a venerable woman named Elara, invited everyone to sit in the shade of the old oak. She spoke with a voice seasoned by time and wisdom.

Elara began to tell the tale of the Old Oak Tree. She recounted how, in its youth, the tree was a mere sapling, facing

storms and droughts that threatenedits existence. Yet, with each challenge, the oak grew stronger, its roots burrowing deeper into the earth.

"This tree," Elara declared, "teaches us the beauty of resilience. It has weathered storms and embraced the sunshine, standing tall in the face of adversity. In the same way, each passing year is an opportunity for us to grow stronger, to deepen the roots of our character, and to find strength in the face of life's challenges."

The story continued, revealing that the old oak had once been barren, its branches bare and devoid of leaves. However, with the changing seasons, it had blossomed into a magnificent display of greenery, providing shelter and sustenance to all who sought refuge beneath its boughs.

"Our lives, too, have seasons," Elara continued. "There are times of growth, times of harvest, and times of quiet reflection. As we step into the New Year, let us embrace the diversity of our experiences, recognizing that each season has a purpose in shaping the beauty of our lives."

The climax of the story came when a small bird landed on one of the oak's branches, singing a melodious tune. The villagers listened intently, captivated by the bird's song.

"The song of the bird," Elara explained, "reminds us of the importance of gratitude and celebration. In every season, in every circumstance, there is a reason to sing. Let our hearts be filled with gratitude for the blessings of the past year, and may we carry a song of hope into the future."

The villagers left the shade of the Old Oak Tree with a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to approach the New Year with resilience, an appreciation for life's seasons, and a heart filled with gratitude.

In the rearview mirror of the year gone by, we find a mosaic of moments—some challenging, others joyous, all contributing to the unique tapestry of our lives. Each trial faced, every triumph celebrated, and the countless lessons learned have sculpted us into the individuals we are today.

As we step into the unknown of the coming year, let us hold dear the relationships that anchor us. Friends, family, and the bonds we've forged are the treasures that illuminate our path. May the coming months be a testament to the strength of these connections and the joy they bring into our lives.

Today we also celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. The Feast of the Mother of God affirms that Mary was the mother of Jesus who was both God and human. In the tapestry of Christian faith, Mary stands as a luminous thread, a woman whose unwavering faith and profound grace shaped the very foundation of our salvation story.

Mary's journey begins with the angel Gabriel's visitation, proclaiming the divine plan for her life. In her humility and obedience, Mary responded with the words, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38) Mary's fiat, her 'yes' to God, teaches us the beauty of surrendering to His will, even when the path ahead is unknown.

Mary's journey continued with Joseph to Bethlehem, where she gave birth to Jesus in a humble stable. In the midst of uncertainty, she embraced God's providence. Mary's trust in God's plan, even in challenging circumstances, inspires us to rely on His guidance and timing in our own lives.

As Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple, they encountered Simeon and Anna, two devout individuals. Mary's heart was pierced by Simeon's prophecy, and she treasured these moments in her heart. Mary's example encourages us to cultivate a deep and contemplative faith, cherishing the sacred moments that shape our spiritual journey.

At the wedding feast, Mary's intercession led to Jesus' first public miracle. Her compassion for others and trust in her Son's abilities reveal the power of prayer and advocacy. Mary's role as intercessor encourages us to turn to her in times of need and to model her compassionate heart in our relationships.

One of the most poignant moments in Mary's life was standing at the foot of the cross as her Son endured suffering. Even in her profound grief, Mary exemplified strength, enduring the weight of a mother's sorrow. Mary's resilience teaches us that in our darkest moments, we find solace in the embrace of our heavenly Mother.

One poignant incident of a great sacrifice by a mother from recent history is the story of Magdalena and her son, Arturo.

In 2010, Magdalena and her family were among the thousands of victims affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti. The earthquake left the country in chaos, with widespread destruction, loss of life, and a humanitarian crisis. Magdalena's small village was particularly hard-hit, and their home was reduced to rubble.

Amid the chaos, Magdalena found herself in a desperate situation. With limited resources and the future uncertain, she faced an agonizing decision. Arturo, her 12-year-old son, had the opportunity to be airlifted out of Haiti to a safer place where he could have a chance for a better life. However, there was a catch – Magdalena could not accompany him.

Knowing the dangers and challenges her son would face if he stayed, Magdalena made the ultimate sacrifice. Despite the heart-wrenching pain of separation, she selflessly chose to send Arturo away to ensure his safety and future. In her eyes, the sacrifice meant not only letting go of her beloved son but also entrusting him to an uncertain fate in a foreign land.

Magdalena's sacrifice stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of mothers facing unimaginable circumstances. Her story echoes the countless sacrifices made by mothers around the world, whose love transcends borders and adversities, shaping the futures of their children even in the most challenging of times.

Mary, the Mother God stands as a great example of sacrifice without any parallel. As we celebrate the feast of Mary, the Mother of God, let us strive to emulate her virtues—humility, obedience, trust, compassion, and resilience.

May the intercession of Mary, our Mother, guide us on our journey of faith.