Readings: Nm 6:22-27; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
Happy New Year! On New Year’s Day we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. New Year’s Day is also associated with New Year resolutions. Some people might tell you that there is no point making one! Well, I try to make one each year: always the same, “”to spend an hour of Bible study and silent prayer each day, in order to grow into a closer union with God.” That is why I want to tell you why as Christians we need a New Year's Resolution. We must set goals and make resolutions regarding our life, our work and our family relationships. On the eve of a new year, we usually review our lives of this past year and resolve what we will do in the coming year. Most of the resolutions I have seen on TV and read from the press are not resolutions but only wishes. So what is the difference between wishes and resolutions? A wish identifies a goal one wants to reach; a resolution specifies the steps one will take to reach the goal. A wish is about where I want to be, while a resolution is about the road I will take to reach my goal. Let me give some concrete examples. A wishful student says, “I want to pass my exams this year”, while a resolved student says, “I will spend an extra hour of study every day in order to pass my exams.” A wishful person says, “I want to have more peace and love in my family this year.” A resolved person says, “I will spend more time with my family at table instead of rushing off to the TV or computer.” A wishful person says, “I want to live a life of union with God this year.” A resolved person says, “I will set aside 30 minutes everyday to pray and listen to God's word.” The difference between wishing and resolving boils down to the following question: Am I prepared to do what it takes to make my dreams come true? In other words, am I prepared to pay the cost? You are probably wondering what on earth a new year's resolution has to do with the solemnity we celebrate! Is there a connection?
Mary is given to us by the Church as a model of a resolved and committed person. She was prepared to realize what God asked of her – to be the Mother of our Lord. She was prepared to pay the cost. We hear in the Gospel of today that she “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19). We recall also that after the child Jesus was found in the temple, “His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Lk. 2:51). Mary valued the word of God and treasured it. In other words, she made time to reflect, to meditate, to ponder on the word of God. Mary too had to struggle to cooperate with God's grace. She reflected on the word of God in order to discern what God was saying to her at every stage of her life. As we begin the New Year in a few hours, let us pray that God may help us; that like Mary Mother of his Son, we too may be resolved to listen to God's word; discern God's will for us in 2017; and carry our resolve to live accordingly. Whatever situation we may find ourselves in the new year 2017: a family problem, a job loss, a disappointment, a difficult decision to make – let us remember that God has a solution and a right answer, but only if we turn to him. Tell God about it in prayer, but also listen to what God tells you about your request. On this New Year, let us resolve to treasure God's word; let us resolve to ponder upon it in our hearts. That I believe will lead us to realize a new resolution on a new life of union with God. May God bless us as we begin the New Year, resolving to do better in 2017.
©2016 John S. Mbinda