Monday, December 26, 2016


JANUARY 1st , 2017


Liturgical evolution of this solemnity.  

«  The solemnity of Mary Mother of God was celebrated in the Eastern Church before the Roman Church. 

«  In the V century France and Spain began to  celebrate  it on the Sunday before Christmas.  

«  In Rome before the VII century it was celebrated on January 1st.  

«  In the XIII and XIV centuries the solemnity of the Circumcision of the Lord replaced on January 1st the celebration of the Motherhood of Mary. 

«  In the XX century the celebration of the Motherhood of Mary was transferred to November 11. 

«  In the renewal of the liturgy promoted by Council Vatican II in 1974, Paul VI   put again the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st. 

«  The title Mother of God given to Mary in Greek is   “Theotokos”= bearer of God, title given in the First Council of Ephesus in 431.    

Eight days after the Solemnity of Christmas, the liturgy invites us to celebrate the Motherhood of Mary.  

*      There are several different themes in this liturgy:   

o   The blessings     

o   The Spirit who makes us children of God  

o   Mary who kept all those things in her heart  

o   And holding together all these themes, PEACE. Since 1968 the Pope sends a Message of Peace to the Church and to the whole world. Pope Paul VI established the tradition.    


The book of Numbers is the fourth book of the 5 books of the Pentateuch or Torah or Law. 

Ø  It comes after the Leviticus. 

Ø  It continues to narrate the story begun in the book of Exodus. Israel continues its journey toward the promised land. At the end of the book Israel sees the promised land in front of its eyes. 

Ø  There is a message of hope in this book:  

o   The punishment for the people’s sins is not the last word from God.

o   Punishment follows sin  

o   Repentance follows the punishment  

o   And pardon and peace, and new life follows the punishment. It is manifested in the many different intervention of God in the life of his people. 

Numbers  6:22-27

We begin the civil year with a blessing, which according to the book of Numbers has been given to Aaron by God to bless the children of Israel. 

§  Let us see the elements of this blessing:  

o   May the Lord bless you, may he pronounce good words upon you. God always blesses us, he always says good things upon us. He gives us  his love, his favor and his gifts.  

o   May he keep you, may he count you among his possessions, may he protect you and put you in a secure place. 

o   May he show you his face. To see the face of God is the longing manifested in different places and in different ways in the Old Testament.    

o   His radiant face, gives joy, peace and everything that is good, beautiful and able to fulfill the longing of our heart. 

o   May he have pity or compassion of you. Compassion is the love of God who bends over our lowliness. So many times we manifest this our lowliness by pride, desire of material goods, abuse of power….  

o   Again the author repeats “may God show you his face, and this will bring peace to you.  Peace is the sum of all good things  given by God. 

§  The Church puts this beautiful blessing in the liturgy of the first day of the civil year, in the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.   


o   R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.


o   Psalm 67 is a psalm of praise and  petition of God’s mercy upon us.

o   This psalm has a theme very much alike the message of the first Reading. 


An author says that the letter to the Galatians is one of the most strong and polemic documents among Paul’s writings.  

It is a letter addressed to the communities of Galatia in Asia Minor. 

Ø  Paul writes it to confront the statements made by some of the community who wanted to conform to Jewish teachings, who put first the Sinai Law to the Law of Jesus.  .

Ø  Paul says in this letter that the works of the Law will not save us, that we are justified only  by faith in Jesus.  

Ø  But this does not excuse us to live according to the Law of Christ, that impels us to fight against evil in all its manifestations. 

Ø  Paul will take again many of these ideas about law, salvation, freedom in his letter to the Romans, but in a more systematic and less polemic way. 

Letter to the Galatians  4:4-7

ü  The fullness of time announced by the prophets, the time of the Messiah has come.

ü  The Messiah came born of a woman 

o   This is the only time that Paul mentions Jesus’ mother, he does not say her name, but he says that he was born of a woman. 

o   This is another way to say what John writes in the prologue “the Word was made flesh…” 

ü  Born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the Law  

ü  So that we might receive adoption as children, and be no longer slaves under the Law of Mount Sinai. 

ü  In so doing he will give us the possibility to speak to God in the same way Jesus does, calling him “Abba” Father. 

ü  Paul continues saying, if we are children we are also heirs, because God has wanted it so. It does not depend on our will, it is gift.  Our only answer to the gift is to accept it with love and to try to respond to this surprising love of our God, which has been manifested to us in the Word made man.    

GOSPEL – Luke  2:16-21

In this gospel we have several scenes: 

«  The shepherds

o   Who go in haste because they are happy, they want to see what has been told to them 

o   They found the Holy Family  

o   And they tell Mary and Joseph what the Angels had told them about the baby  

o   Afterwards they returned filled with joy, glorifying God and telling everyone what they had seen and heard.  

«  Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.  

o   She has many things to remember and to meditate in her heart  

§  Things about the baby 

§  Things about herself, about  God, the annunciation with her joys and her fears. 

§  Things about Joseph, his doubts about her, his decision to leave her, his willingness to take her into his home.  

§  Her conversations with Elizabeth about the blessings that each one had received from God.

§  Her conversations with Joseph about the child, and how to fulfill the mission that God had given them and communicated through the Angel. 

«  The Circumcision of Jesus 

o   The rite prescribed to Abraham (Gn 17)

o   Through this rite Jesus was officially incorporated into the people of Israel, the people of the promises, the people of God. 

o   And he is given the name of Jesus as the Angel had told them.  

o   This rite is another way to say what Paul says in the letter to the Galatians “born of a woman”, member of the human family. 

Message of Pope Francis for the Celebration of the Fiftieth World Day of Peace

January 2017

Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for “it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come” (Mk 7:21). But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt 5:44) and to turn the other cheek (cf. Mt 5:39). When he stopped her accusers from stoning the woman caught in adultery (cf. Jn 8:1-11), and when, on the night before he died, he told Peter to put away his sword (cf. Mt 26:52), Jesus marked out the path of nonviolence. He walked that path to the very end, to the cross, whereby he became our peace and put an end to hostility (cf. Eph 2:14-16). Whoever accepts the Good News of Jesus is able to acknowledge the violence within and be healed by God’s mercy, becoming in turn an instrument of reconciliation. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts”.
·         To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence. As my predecessor Benedict XVI observed, that teaching “is realistic because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and therefore that this situation cannot be overcome except by countering it with more love, with more goodness. This ‘more’ comes from God”.  He went on to stress that: “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution’”. The Gospel command to love your enemies (cf. Lk 6:27) “is rightly considered the magna carta of Christian nonviolence. It does not consist in succumbing to evil…, but in responding to evil with good (cf. Rom 12:17-21), and thereby breaking the chain of injustice(From the Message of Pope Francis for the Celebration of the Fiftieth World Day of Peace. January 1st  2017.)  

No comments:

Post a Comment