The Good News of the Birth of Christ

01-01-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

In the Liturgy of the Catholic Church, the first day of every year is celebrated as the “Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.” On this day, when we thank the Lord for the blessing of a new year and look forward in hope for an abundance of God’s gratuitous gifts, the Holy Church commends all of us to the unfailing maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of Our Divine Lord, and illuminates some of her virtues for us to imitate. With the Virgin Mother of God interceding for us, we can rest assured that God’s benevolence will find us.

The First Reading recounts how God instructed Moses to direct Aaron the Priest and his sons to invoke the name of the Lord and confer His blessings on the people of Israel, with a pledge that upon the reverent invocation of His name, He would bless the people. As beneficiaries of the New Covenant sealed by the blood of the Lamb, we invoke these same blessings, not only on ourselves, but on the whole world which, quite unfortunately, keeps drifting away from God its creator. May God look kindly upon us all and grant us peace.

The Gospel presents St. Luke’s account of the events immediately following the birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea. Recall that besides Mary and Joseph, the poor shepherds looking after their flock were the first to be informed of the Good News of the birth of Christ. God deliberately chose to make the poor the first, but not the only ones, to witness to the mystery of God becoming man, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law. He, the Word of God now dwelling among us, was first seen by the poor among the poor. By this, God implied that righteousness will be found in caring for the poor and those on the fringes of society. If in the new year we desire to encounter Jesus and to have Him bless us with the Gospel, impacting the life of the poor is the best way to find Him. Take some time and visit the St. Vincent de Paul pantry at Annex 4 bearing gifts and you shall find Christ. Join the Knights of Columbus to contribute to voluntary community service and charity and you will experience the joy of the Gospel. Volunteer for service in the Church or in our Pastoral Care ministry and experience true discipleship.

The shepherds did not remain around the manger in Bethlehem, nor did they hoard the Good News of the birth of Christ. They believed the message and made known the Good News to others. Mary, the Mother of God, kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. In this way, she became the first Christian Theologian, one who prays, treasuring all the Truths she was a witness to. Like Mary, we are invited to reflect on the mystery of God dwelling among us. Like the shepherds, we have received hope and it is now our responsibility to go in haste to see and to understand what we have received and now believe, and to tell others what we have received and believe.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace. Please be kind and may God bless you.

Happy New Year!

Fr. Manasseh