Sunday, January 1, 2017

Mary was the first person to take the "way" to enter the Kingdom of God that Christ opened, a way which is accessible to the humble, to all who trust in the word of God and endeavor to put it into practice.

“The Blessed Virgin is like a good mother who, not content with looking after all her children in general, watches over each one separately.” - St. John Vianney: (1786 –1859: was a French parish priest who is venerated in the Catholic Church as a saint and as the patron saint of parish priests.)

Gospel Text: (LK 2:16-21)
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.


This is one of my most favorite Catholic holidays. I pray that you will have a very Jesus-centered year in which your faith increases your joy as you receive his healing love and the gift of his emboldening strength to enable you to succeed in every difficulty.

To grow stronger in faith, we need to become more aware of our blessings. This requires keeping our eyes on Jesus. Admittedly, this is hard to do, but it's possible with decisive effort and the help of the Holy Spirit. Look past the problems: There is the victorious Jesus! Look past your emotional reactions to hardships: There is the peace of Christ! Look past the person who is sinning against you: There is Jesus comforting you!

Let us learn from Mary. She observed everything that happened and reflected on it to see what God would do. When Mary looked at the shepherds, did she see scruffy, stinky, unkempt strangers barging in? Of course not.

Look at the “scruffy people” in your own life. How many blessings do you see?

May your New Year be filled with fully realized blessings!

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