Another Christmas has come and gone, and a New Year has arrived. There’s something about new beginnings that can fill us with enthusiasm and hope. And an end to the virus. A New Year is a time of opportunity to build on past mistakes and make a new start – a new fresh beginning. A New Year is a time of hope, of new life, a chance to begin again.
Last year with its many blessings and its many disappointments and virus has been deligated to the history of the past. Our successes and failures, our right choices and mistakes, our good days and our bad days are our treasures: these events offer us wisdom and knowledge that we could never learn from reading books. All we have to do with them is recall them and learn from them – that’s the opportunity God is giving to us.
As limited parties and fireworks mark the beginning of the New Year, today, the Church invites us to turn our minds and hearts to Mary. Mary is our example and companion as we move into the New Year 2022. She is to be our example because she always said “YES” to God’s will – even when it was difficult to do so.
Saint Luke captures the spirit of Mary when he says: “Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart.” Mary opened her heart to the treasures of the Magi, to the curiosity of the shepherds, to the praise of the angels. Yet she also had to say “Yes” to the treasure of the Cross and the treasure of the swords that would pierce her heart. She watched as Jesus, her Son, was denounced and crucified; and as His dead body was placed into her arms at the foot of the Cross.
Mary is the woman of reflection. She did not seek a “comfortable Christianity”. She did not ask: “What do I get out of serving the Lord?” Rather she asked: “What does God want me to do? What does God want me to be? The emphasis was not on her, but on God’s will as the events of her life unfolded. Her security came from trusting in God’s loving care. It was from God that Mary knew peace.
As we begin this New Year of Our Lord 2022, may the blessing in the First Reading become a reality for each one of us. “May the Lord bless us, may the Lord let His face shine upon us. May the Lord look kindly upon us and give us His peace.”
In this New Year, as we continue our earthly pilgrimage to the house of our Father”, let us: not be like the shepherds in the Gospel today who returned to their flocks and forgot the event of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Rather, may each of us, be guided by the Holy Spirit, reflecting on what Jesus’ birth means to us and what He has done in our lives through the joys and sufferings of the past year. May each of us treasure in our own hearts the joy and the mystery of God’s love for us as Mary did in her heart.
As we enter into the New Year of 2022, we go, not in fear of what might come in our future, but rather with the assurance that God loves us so much that He will take care of us and lead us through His Holy Spirit. We go into the New Year with the confident faith that God who provided for us last year, who provides for us today, will provide for us in this New Year.
In the New Year that lies ahead, may each of us experience the love of God our Father through Jesus His Son; and may each of us follow the example of Mary – who treasured the gift of Jesus her Son and reflected on His great love.