2015 has come and gone, and now we are heading into a brand and fresh New Year which is 2016. The church was slightly emptier than usual,perhaps everyone participated fully into the countdown festivities. However, countdowns for me are mundane and seem to be unappealing. On New Year’s Day, we observed the octave of Christmas and also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother Of God.
To start things off on the right note, we see the face of God in the manger and to experience him, we accept him into our hearts and lives for the brand New Year. Only then would it be possible for us to experience God’s blessings unto us and his works through us.
I am bad at New Year resolutions as half the time, I end up not following through with them. So, I have made a resolution that is simple yet important enough for me. it is to continue to be a blessing to others in any ways possible.
In the gospel reading,”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 to 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 things reflecting them in her heart. Then all the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen,just as it had been told to them”(Luke 2:16-21).
The shepherds were common men just like you and me and yet after a day of tending to the sheep, they still made the effort to journey to see Jesus and pay homage to him. They were the humble folks and of a lower status at that time, but it is through common men Jesus often speaks to us and he is with us. On the other hand, Mary reflected all the things that were happening around her. This form of spiritual reflection shows Mary’s silent and continued trust in God despite their situation which was from far from favorable. God already gives us his Son, Jesus, a blessing for the world.
In the first reading, Jesus says to the people of Israel,“The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”(Numbers 6:22-27).
This New Year, it is important that we look to Mary as an example of her acceptance of God’s blessings and may we possess the heart and character of the shepherds to journey with the people around us in their faith and lives.
Jesus is our good shepherd for the New Year and may we be ever grateful for God’s blessings in our own personal lives and also that of for our family members. Praise God!
Prayer for the Family in the Year of Mercy (composed by his Grace, Archbishop William Goh)
“Loving Father, you showed us your mercy by sending Your Son, who out of love for us emptied Himself to be born into a human family, the cradle of faith and love.
Bless our families to live in the spirituality of communion where love, dialogue, mutual respect, acceptance and forgiveness abound. May we grow in awareness of our own brokenness and sinfulness so that, receiving Your mercy and forgiveness,we can in turn be channels of mercy to each other. Grant all parents strength, patience and compassion so that they can be good role models and mentors of Christian faith, love and mercy to their children.
Guide and shield us from anger, resentment and violence. May our Christian families respond to the New Evangelisation by being domestic churches that are beacons of compassion and love.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we entrust our families to you. Pray for us and protect us. Amen.
God Bless! As we start the new journey with God at the center of the New Year, may 2016 be a better and more fruitful year for everyone.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong