Dear friends in Christ,
To all of you a very happy and blessed New Year, and a grace-filled feast of Mary, Mother
of God. Today we honour Mary as the Mother of God.
But how can a human person become the mother of her own Creator who is uncreated and eternal?
Today’s Gospel reading shows Mary is the mother of Jesus. And Jesus is both God and
Man; he is a divine Person, God the Son, who took human nature. Jesus, therefore, is one
Person with two natures – divine and human. A mother conceives and gives birth to a person,
not to a nature. Since Mary’s son is a divine Person, she is the Mother of God. That title
is applicable to her only on account of Jesus her son who is Emmanuel, God with us (Mt 1:
23). It was the Council of Ephesus that, in the year 431, defined Mary as Mother of God
because from her was generated the sacred body of the Word Incarnate.
Mary’s virginity was made fruitful by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore her child
is of divine origin. St Elizabeth called Mary “the mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43). Being
children of God, as the 2nd reading tells us, we are also brothers of Jesus, and his
mother is our mother, too. From the Cross Jesus said, “She is your mother” (Jn 19:27).
So, today we are celebrating the Mother of God and our Mother. As children learn their
first and most precious lessons from their mothers, let us also learn our spiritual lessons
from Mother Mary. Her prayerfulness, humility, surrender to God’s will, obedience, love
for Christ, love for neighbour, gratitude to God, and trust in Jesus are shining examples
for us to imitate. Let us draw comfort and strength from the presence and protection
of Mary, and follow her footsteps on the path to holiness.
We have just stepped into 2020. This moment can bring us an element of sorrow for our
failures of the past year, but for all of us it has an element of joy as it is a moment
of hope that opens new possibilities and opportunities. It is therefore a moment of resolve.
It is worth asking ourselves what last year meant for us. What have we gained, and what
have we learnt from it? And what do I expect from 2020 as its days,
weeks and months pass? None of us is certain about what this year will bring us. But one
thing we know: how I venture into the New Year depends on me. We learn from the past,
grasp the present and venture into the future. I learn from my mistakes and entrust them
to God’s mercy. I venture into the New Year with gratitude, trust, goodwill and purpose.
I must become a little better every day, a bit more human, a bit more understanding,
and a bit more caring. Such things come from my heart, and they are what count. I must
take responsibility for my words and deeds, and resist the temptation to blame others.
Our life is made up of multiple relationships: with our Creator, with ourselves, with fellow
humans, and with our world. The right relationships will bring us peace, harmony and joy. By loving
we become lovable. Love begets love. That way, this year will be for us a time of grace
and growth. May it be so for all of us. Through Mother Mary’s intercession, may the Lord
bless you and keep you, be gracious to you and give you peace all through this New Year!