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Fr. Tim’s Homily for January 1, 2017

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God-A

New Year’s Day

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Numbers 6: 22-27

Galatians 4: 4-7

Luke 2: 16-21

Teachers had submitted their New Year’s resolutions to their principal, and the principal posted them on the faculty bulletin board when school re-opened after Christmas vacation.  The teachers were reading what others had said.  And then there arose some commotion.

One of the teachers got very vocal and shouted, “Where is MY New Year’s resolution?  I don’t see it anywhere on this board!”

When the principal got back to her office, she discovered that she had left that resolution on her desk.  And so she took a peek to see what it said, and was astonished to read:  “I’m not going to let little things get me upset.”

Now, I don’t know how you are doing with your New Year’s resolutions so far.  It is a little early in the season.  But there is something even more important than the resolution itself:  it is the foundation upon which we make them.  The foundation lies in a question:  “How do I see this New Year?”  How you answer that question has a lot to do not only with the resolution itself, but also the success in keeping it.

So how do you see this New Year:  with hope or with fear?  Full of blessings or disappointments?

We open this New Year on the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  And Mary had a lot of challenges in her life, didn’t she?  But she trusted that God would be with her every step of the way.  Mary approached the future with hope and not with fear.  She looked for blessings and not disappointments.  And her example and her prayers are very good for us.

Once upon a time, there was a king who had two servants.  He called them in and gave them their assignments.  To the first, he said:  “For the next six months I want you to go out and find a sample for me of every kind of weed that is growing in my kingdom.”  And to the second, he said:  “And for the next six months I want you to go out and find me a sample of every kind of flower that is blooming in my kingdom.”

Six months later, the first servant said:  “Your majesty, I have come back with all of these weeds.  And do you know what?  Your kingdom is just full of weeds.”

The second servant then said:  “Your majesty, I have come back with all of these flowers.  And, do you know what?  Everywhere I look in your kingdom I find nothing but beautiful flowers.”

The moral?  They both found exactly what they were looking for.  And so, I ask you:  what are you looking for in this New Year:  hope or fear?  Blessings or disappointments?  Because, you know what?  You will probably find just what you are looking for!

How can we live so full of hope?  Saint Paul tells us in the second reading from his letter to the Galatians.  We have been chosen by God, adopted by God as His very own sons and daughters.  And so we can call God our Father.

To be chosen is a wonderful thing.  To be overlooked or ignored is a very painful thing.  But Saint Paul assures us that in Jesus Christ, we have been chosen.

A family counselor said that she thought that 90% of the naughty behavior of children is done in order to get noticed.  If a child cannot get your attention, they know what buttons to push in order to get a reaction.  [My father used to call this “attention getting devices.”]  Children may not get the reaction from their unruly behavior that they would like, but at least they feel noticed.

Criminologists tell us that sometimes people commit crimes in order to get attention.  A person may think:  “Boy, if I do that, I will make the front page and then everybody will know my name.”  It is a short-lived fame, but it is driven by that human tendency to want to be noticed.

To be overlooked is painful.  But we need to remember that we been chosen by God to be His beloved sons and daughters.  And no matter what lies ahead, our God is with us.

So, how do you see this New Year 2017?  With hope or with fear?  Full of blessings or disappointments?  Because what we are looking for is probably what we will find.

Jesus gave Mary to us to be our mother too.  She looks at each one of us with the same motherly love with which she looks at Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother too, we place our lives in your loving care that we may open this New Year in hope of God’s bountiful blessings.