New Year's Day Homily
By Father Francis Maple
I wish each one of you a very Happy and Holy New Year. Let us rejoice today because of the wonderful feast we keep, Mary Mother of God. Today our hearts should be bursting with joy. I shall say no more now for all will be revealed in the homily. Today our hearts should jump with joy at the thought that at the very beginning of a New Year we are keeping the feast of Mary, Mother of God. I think the reason why the Church has done this is so very obvious. We know that God is everything, and that everything else compared to Him is nothing. But among that nothing there is someone who shines out brilliantly. That person is Mary. In her humility she was able to recognise this. "He looked upon the nothingness of His handmaid, from this day all generations will call me blessed." We know that it was always the intention of God to be loved perfectly by one of His creatures. This could only come about if His Son was to take to Himself our human nature. That would mean that He would have to find a perfect mother. It would just not be fitting if even for a split second Satan should have any dominion over her. The person He chose was Mary, the girl from Nazareth. She was therefore conceived immaculate and also given the unique privilege of being sinless all her life. Mary was not forced into making this commitment. God's plan depended upon Mary's choice. He sent one of His highest ranked angels, Gabriel, to reveal His plan that she had been chosen to be the mother of His Son. We must remember that Mary's love for God increased with every moment of her life. Because she loved God so much how could she ever contemplate of not fulfilling His plans? At the Annunciation I can just picture her bowing her head and joining her hands in reverence and saying with all the love in her heart, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let what you said be done to me." From that moment she became the Mother of God. From that moment she became the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race. We can definitely say that when Jesus became Man He found Heaven in His mother Mary and that when He lived on this earth He was happiest when He was in her presence. We can express in wonder and love, "What a mother! What a lady!" Mary always points the way to Jesus, never to her own glory. At the wedding feast of Cana, she told the servants, "Do whatever He tells you. It is significant that these should be the last recorded words of Mary in the Gospel. She continues to give the same message to us, "Do whatever He tells you". Isn't it wonderful that we too can claim Mary as our mother? Jesus had done all He could for us. He gave us a Church in which we could find our salvation. He had given us the example of His life and His message was there in the Gospels. But as He hung on the Cross there was still one last treasure He had for us and that was His mother, when He said to us in the person of John, "Behold your Mother." If only we could appreciate how much Mary loves us as a mother. When God wanted to tell us how much He loved us and how He would never desert us He used the image of a mother. "If a mother should forget the child of her womb, I shall never forget you." Could Mary, our mother, ever forget anyone of us? She has all the beautiful natural instincts our own mothers had for us. There have been times I have been in a home where there is a new born baby and the mother has heard her child crying in another room and I haven't heard a thing. The very cry can tell a mother whether it is a cry of hunger, discomfort or pain. I couldn't even hear the cry and if I did it would just be a cry calling for its mother's attention. We can always take our fears, our tears of unhappiness and pain to Mary, our mother, and she will comfort us, as no one else will. No loving mother will ever forsake or abandon her child. I shall never forget that lovely story we witnessed on television some years back when there was that dreadful earthquake in Armenia. A mother and a daughter had been buried in the rubble for eight days. The rescuers had given up all hope of finding anyone alive. Yet, after that period, they dragged them alive from the rubble. The mother had kept her baby alive by cutting her finger and allowing her to drink the blood that flowed from it. That to me is a perfect picture of the lengths to which our blessed mother Mary would go to prove her love for us. Is there anything Mary, our mother, would like to see in all of us? I think I can enumerate three things. Firstly, when she looks at each one of us, she would like to see something of her Son in us. The enthusiasm her Jesus had for doing the will of His Father, all His characteristics such as His caring nature, His gentleness and kindness. Secondly, she would love all of us to be united and loving one another. How it must break her heart to see her own countrymen and women in the Holy Land fighting and killing each other! Thirdly, she longs for us to be united with the Blessed Trinity and her one day in Heaven. It breaks her heart if any one of her children through malice should separate themselves from God and her. Today then we ask the Holy Spirit to give us a tender and attentive love for God's holy mother and our heavenly mother and that we would never do anything to hurt of break her loving heart. We end on a note of thanks. Thank you Jesus for giving Mary to us to be our mother, and thank you Mary for all the love and attention you give us. LITTLE GIRL OF GALILEE Little girl of Galilee, growing up so happily Down by the lake, walking in the sand Not knowing yet what God has planned, Mary. What's it like to be so highly favoured Mary, That nothing can stop God's love flowing in you Like an ocean filling a drop of dew, Mary. The night was black as death. The whole world holding its breath. How can I imagine your joy when you gave birth to a baby Boy, Mary. Lulalulalu, lullalulalu Rock Him gently but hold Him tight. He's someone precious; He's our Light, Mary. He must grow to man, be as strong as He can. Some day He will have to bear, things that we are too weak to share, Mary. Thank you is all I can say for showing us the way. For giving to us the eternal Son. For saying so firmly, "Thy Will be done", Mary.
Father Francis can be contacted by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org