Summary: New Year Reflection
My dear sisters and brothers,
Wish you all A Happy and Peaceful New Year - 2021!
Today, we celebrate the solemnity of Mary, Theotokos and we have a text from the Gospel of Saint 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.”
There was a Christmas mass for the first time in a village church in India.
The priest started the mass.
Now, it was time to sing the Gloria…
The village head went to the priest and requested the priest to wait for 10 minutes.
You know, why?
Because, the little village people wanted Jesus to be born at 12 am.
After hearing this story, we may laugh.
But, there is memory which the village people wanted to create on that night.
We have heard hundreds of sermons on the new year celebration about the motherhood of Mary, new year resolutions and God’s promise for the new year and so on…
I try to present this sermon with a little twist in the old story.
We hear in the Gospel that there are five characters:
1. The Angels,
2. The Shepherds,
3. The Infant,
4. Mary, and
Today, on this new year day, Mary is our focus and Mary is given more importance on this special day.
To explain this, I would like to connect the dots.
The dots are unnamed characters: the angels, the shepherd, and the infant with Mary, the only woman character.
So, I am going to reflect on a woman, who became the Theotokos.
Let us reflect taking every unnamed character with Mary…of course with our lives too.
1. The Angels:
Who is the angel?
The angel is created by God for a purpose to serve God.
The Angels are messengers, who carry the message of God to the other.
The Angels have a mission to accomplish.
Mary was created for a purpose by God.
Mary was a messenger throughout her life.
Mary had a mission to bring forth the Son of God on this earth.
With our lives…
We too are created by God for a purpose.
We are the messengers who carry the message not in our wombs but through our words and actions.
We are called by our names for a mission... may be a preacher, a pastor, a missionary, a teacher, a nurse or a social worker…and so on…
2. The Shepherds:
Who are the shepherds?
The shepherds were outcaste in the Jewish society.
They lived among the sheep.
They were rejected by religious groups and society and were treated as a dirt.
Mary became an outcaste as soon as people heard that she was pregnant before her marriage.
Even Joseph wanted to leave her.
It might be possible that she must have been rejected by religious groups and society.
She might have been treated as a dirt.
With our lives…
Sometimes, we too feel that we are outcaste in our lives because of our own inferiority complex, relationship problems…
It may be physical, psychological, material and so on…
We are rejected and treated as a dirt by the others because of various reasons.
Was it bad for Mary when she was rejected or treated negatively?
For us too, the answer is no.
Our time has not yet come as it was for Mary.
Secondly, with the Shepherds…
The shepherds went in haste looking out for the witness as it was told by the angel to them.
They did not know the exact place.
Even they did not ask any questions.
They did not know how the place might look and how to reach the place exactly.
There was no guide to show the way.
There was no GPS too (just for humour).
But, there was an eagerness to find the message…they left their sheepfold.
It was a call for them to witness the King of the universe in the Manger.
How did they believe after seeing the King in the manger as infant?
They did not lose their hope…
There was a strong faith in them that the little King would bring the salvation for all.