Gospel Reflection Jan 1 – Kim VanHuffel
Sunday, January 1
The Octave Day of Christmas Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Luke 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.
On Friday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family and this Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. While all things Mary does point to her Son, we also have a lot to learn from Mary herself, the first among Saints and model for our faith, and her role within the Holy Family. Jesus came into the world in human flesh through Mary’s “yes” to the angel Gabriel. But this was not the only “yes” Mary gave. Today we hear that Mary followed the Jewish law of circumcision for newborn boys and she named her son Jesus, as the angel said she should. Two more times she says yes.
So what can we learn from Mary and the Holy Family this week? What wisdom can our families take from theirs? Maybe we need to say “yes” more often. I recently listened to a sermon by Bishop Barron in which he pointed out that Mary probably would have said “yes” to her weird cousin twice removed coming over to celebrate a holiday, even though he was different.
She said “yes” to the angel knowing it would make HER different from all others. Mary was accepting. Maybe we need to be more accepting of others who are different from us — who don’t look like us or even think like us. They were also made in the image and likeness of God.
Mary also taught her son to say “yes,” as he did at the wedding feast at Cana. Maybe we need to listen to Jesus when he teaches us to say “yes” to loving our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus doesn’t say to make them into a clone of us, and then to love them. He means for us to love them unconditionally.
And from Joseph, who says not one word in the Bible, we learn how to care for a misfit family with complete love. Joseph knew that God gave him Mary and Jesus, who was not his biological child. Maybe we need to recognize that the people God has put into our lives may not be perfect in our eyes, but they are perfect in God’s, and so we need to love them, just as God loves us even through our imperfections.