1st January 2015 – New Year’s Day and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

I returned from Kerry on Tuesday after being away for a week. I had another clinic yesterday and all was well. These visits are now happening every two weeks.

It was great being at home for Christmas. Having Mikey Browne around underlined the essential Christmas message of God become one of us in all the vulnerability and attractiveness that you find in a newborn baby. It has been a real introduction to the level of care that babies require – 3 hourly feeds (the longer lasting nourishment of a roast beef dinner is still a long ways away!) and associated sleep deprivation for parents, burping, nappy changes, eye cleaning, etc. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity entered into all of this 2000 years ago.

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Also shown below are the four generations: sister Maureen, dad Denis, Mikey, niece & godchild Sile.

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We had an alternative New Year’s celebration last night with a Eucharistic vigil from 8-11.15pm and then Mass to herald in 2015. I received Jesus in Holy Communion on the stroke of midnight and then distributed Him to the congregation.

In my few words at Mass, I said it was appropriate that we celebrate the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God at the beginning of a New Year. Her YES to the Archangel Gabriel opened the door to the human coming of God into our history. This event is the turning point of history and separates BC (before Christ) from AD (Year of our Lord in Latin). Since Jesus our Saviour had opened the gates of eternal life by offering the Sacrifice of Atonement on Calvary, the AD phase of history is truly a new eternal ‘year’.

St Paul speaks about this new ‘eternal’ year in the second reading: “When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman”. He goes on to say that we now have a new way of relating to God. Rather than doing so in a legalistic way (as we do to the police and tax officers) we can now relate to God as a Father thanks to the gift of the Spirit: “When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba, Father’, and it is this that makes you a son, you are not a slave any more; and if God has made you son, then he has made you heir.”

How can we be possess and be possessed by this reality as the deepest mark of who we are? Well, where our heart is, there also is our treasure. All we have to do is what Mary did in the gospel of the day: “As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:19) The ideal means to this prayerful pondering is to pray the Rosary daily in which she reveals to us her memories of Jesus’ life.

Meanwhile Garfield has his own ideas about life’s priorities!