I wish you all a Happy New Year! May the year 2018 bring you and your family many blessings and much happiness. Our parish has many programs for the year 2018, one is reroofing our church and let us make it a priority. Let us make this a New Year’s gift to us, to our children, and to our future generations. As you know, every year brings blessings and joy, as well as challenges and suffering. The readings today help us be aware that God is in our midst, and that it is God Who guides our lives. It is hard to understand God’s plan; even Mary had her doubts when Simeon and Anna predicted the future of the Child Jesus. What did she do? She pondered everything in her heart; that is, she surrendered everything to God.
The first reading, from the Book of Sirach, is an instruction to young men to live wisely and to advice on practical aspects of daily living. The reading instructs us on how to live in fear of the Lord in family relationships. The reading begins with a statement of God’s overall plan in which God places the father over his children and the mother’s authority over them as well. It instructs the children to take care of their parents; if they do, they will experience abundant blessings: atonement and preservation from sins, prayers that are heard, being gladdened by their children, and blessed with a long life. No matter how parents are, care, consideration and kindness always remain the responsibility of their children. The benefits of living in wise relationships and showing reverence and obedience to parents is founded on the principle of reverence and obedience to God.
The second reading, from the Letter to the Colossians, Paul tells us who we are, God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. He tells us to develop virtues such as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. As matured Christians, Paul tells us to be clothed with these virtues. I wish for you to add these virtues as part of your New Year’s resolutions, and to grow in grace. I think there cannot be a better resolution than this for the year 2018.
The Gospel simply reminds us that Mary played her motherly role very well with her Son, Jesus Christ. As a part of her motherly role, she presented Jesus in the temple where two holy people, Simeon and Anna, encountered the baby Jesus. This was their desire to see the Lord. Mary’s duty toward her Son teaches us that she was obedient and fulfilled all that she was told to do. Not only did she give birth to Christ, she nurtured Him like every good mother would do. Hence, she is the embodiment of good motherhood and serves as an example for us to imitate.
Perhaps as we begin this New Year, we can give thanks to Mary for accepting the Word of God. We can also follow her example: she kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. If we can spend a good amount of time this year simply reflecting on things in our hearts, surely our lives will change, and we too can live a grace–filled life.
God invites us to share His life and to walk with Him. A young man was once asked: “What is your new year’s resolution?” He simply responded: “I have resolved to walk with God. I have always walked alone and failed. This year I will not walk alone again. So my number one priority this year is to walk with God. I know he will not let me fail again.” Let us make it as our priority as well. Happy New Year and may the year 2018 bring many blessings to our parish and families!