DAILY MASS READINGS (January 1, 2020)

SOLEMNITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD/52ND WORLD DAY OF PRAYER OF PEACE (CYCLE A, White/Blue)

Reading 1 (NUMBERS 6:22-27)

A reading from the Book of Numbers

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.”

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8)

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.


Reading 2 (GALATIANS 4:4-7)

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

– The word of the Lord.

Alleluia (HEBREWS 1:1-2)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel (LUKE 2:16-21)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

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.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: Today, we open the Civil New Year with the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. This title is the most basic title of our Blessed Mother, other famous titles being Immaculate Conception, Perpetual/Ever-Virgin, Our Lady of the Rosary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, etc. Even this doctrine is among the teachings of the Church being questioned by other Christians: Why do we say that Mary is the Mother of God when in fact she is the Mother of Jesus? Are we making her a goddess? In the 4th and 5th century, the early councils of the Church have been defending the doctrine of Jesus Christ as true God and true Man against the many heresies at that time such Arianism and Nestorianism. Since Christ is truly human and truly divine as what Scriptures teach, so the Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Son of God, God the Son, and God-Incarnate; thus, she is the Mother of God. There is no such teaching that our Church declares her to have such divine power. Even in Luke 1:43, Elizabeth salutes her humility that her cousin, the “mother of the Lord”, comes to her. Mary is the “Theotokos”, the God-bearer, and the One she bore in her immaculate womb would entrust to us at the foot of the Cross our very own spiritual Mother.
With so many events and experiences during the past year, we are now ready to face the new challenges that this year has in store for us. But God reminds us through Moses the priestly blessing we are familiar with at Mass: The Lord bless and keep us with his mercy, grace, and peace. This is should be one of our resolutions: greeting one another with a blessing, and continuing to be that gift to others. There are many things in 2018 that we couldn’t grasp and perceive, even the question into our minds in search of the reason for the cause and happenings. Like in case, why is it there is still tension and persecution in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria? Why are we Filipinos so divided especially in Social Media when it comes to political and social issues of our country? And why are there still millions of people suffering from poverty, injustice, and indifference? There are natural causes to these little and big tragedies, but there are also human causes to such. And if there are natural effects that will occur, then there should be appropriate human effects and response to resolve the problems in life. Even the Blessed Mother was astounded at the shepherds’ testimony when they visited the place where the Christ-Child was born. Yet she remembered that event and reflected it in her heart. Even so when 12-year-old Jesus was found in the Temple and he said that must be about the Father’s business, Mary didn’t understand, but she treasured it and pondered it in her heart. At the Annunciation, she proclaimed her fiat (“yes”) with humility, obedience, and faith in the divine will of God the Father (Cf. Luke 1:38). At Cana, she interceded for the 1st miracle when she told the stewards to obey what his Son will command them (Cf. John 2:5). And at the foot of the Cross, she stood there with Saint John the Beloved Apostle without complaning yet in anguish, then the crucified Lord entrusted his Mother to us, and we are her children (Cf. John 19:25-27). Mary’s role in salvation history fulfilled the plan of God the Father as what Saint Paul told the Galatians, that we might have the right to be called the Father’s own adopted children through our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is the effect given to us at the grace of our own Baptism, that also we may fulfill our priestly, prophetic, and kingly mission on this earth.
My dear brothers and sisters, the civil new year starts today. In the Church, we began the New Year a month ago with the Advent Season when we prepared for the Threefold Coming of Christ. And when we reached the nine days leading to December 25, we focused more our attention to the events in the Incarnation story that gave way to the greatest plan of salvation. When we entered Christmas Time, we remembered how God chose to become man and live among us except sin through his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And today, we honor the Mother of the Lord who was chosen to be Theotokos (God-bearer) and submitted herself to the divine will. Even there are things she couldn’t understand, she kept them and reflected on them in her Immaculate Heart. So as we journey down this Christmas road and begin the New Year 2020, may we invoke the blessings of God that give us grace, mercy, and peace throughout the year, as part of our resolutions. May we also become messengers of his goodness in our lives to other people towards becoming his own adopted children. Like the Blessed Mother, whatever event we couldn’t grasp in our minds, let us reflect it in our hearts, hoping that we can be able to contribute a good word and deed that will lessen the pain of every problem.

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