Numbers 6: 22-27; Psalm 66:2-3,5,6,8; Galatians 4: 4-7; Luke 2:16-21
We begin the year, as we start our life, under the protection of a mother. Today we celebrate the most passionate and enduring of all human relationships - that of Mother and Child as we celebrate Mary, Mother of God.
The First Reading has this prayer which Yahweh asked Moses to tell Aaron to say over the Israelites: “May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May God show his face and bring you peace” (Jerusalem Bible – Num.6: 24-26).
This is a beautiful prayer we can bless people, especially our own children with, at the slightest opportunity. It is seemingly simple, but has power from on high.
The wonderful thing revealed in today’s Gospel is that God’s self-revelation as love is not to the select few but to you and me. Mary’s greatness is seen in the fact that she took time to ponder this revelation, not just in her mind but ‘in her heart’, to discern the hidden meaning of these amazing happenings. Wisdom is the fruit of much pondering: there are lessons to be learned from, both, the painful and good memories.
The humble and meek shepherds are singled out as the recipients of God’s favors and blessings and were the first “witnesses” and the first to proclaim; a task they performed with joy. Shepherds who have no social status are the very ones whom the Lord holds in special regard. Those who have nothing open themselves to the angel’s message. Their response is joy and praise for the mystery of love unwrapped before them - a vulnerable child.
MEMORY VERSE: Luke 2: 19 “But Mary treasured these things, pondering them in her heart.”