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(Part 145)


January 1, 2016
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Today’s readings:
Numbers 6:22-27
Psalm 67:2-8
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:16-21

It was an amazing scene at the first Christmas. The shepherds “went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.” (Lk 2:16). As to our call and mission, this points us to two important elements--family renewal and work with the poor.

First, God sent His Son into the world through a human family. For the mysterious work of salvation, God chose the totally inscrutable act of God becoming man, born of woman. Family is fully a part of the salvific work of God. Not only that, God’s intent is not only to save us but to incorporate us into His family. As such, “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.” (Gal 4:4-5). Salvation and family go together. “So you are no longer a slave but a child” (Gal 4:7a).

Second, the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus was poor, and Jesus was born in a stable. At that time they were like homeless immigrants, with no room for them in the inn, with no decent place to stay in. But who did God invite to this grand event of the birth of the Savior of the world? God sent the angel of the Lord to proclaim this good news to poor shepherds. They came bearing no gifts. The family offered them no food. It was a gathering of the poor! With this scenario, God indicated the dignity of and a preferential option for the poor, and the importance of the poor in the work of salvation. We are to be a Church of the Poor.

But there is a third important element in our call and mission. It is a more fundamental work that is necessary to support the works of family renewal and serving the poor. This is the work of evangelization. For family renewal and work with the poor, there needs to first of all be conversion of hearts. This happens as people meet Christ and start to live Christ; then they share Christ. Thus, according to the plan of God, the poor shepherds became the first to proclaim the good news. “When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.” (Lk 2:17). Just as fishers of fish would later be called by Jesus to become fishers of men, tenders of sheep were now called to tend to the flock of God. And God used these poor ordinary people to effectively share Christ. “All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.” (Lk 2:18). And why not? The gospel is utterly amazing.

Now we are called to share this incredible good news, to all the earth. “So shall your way be known upon the earth, your victory among all the nations.” (Ps 67:3). We are called to rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization.

How can our families be renewed and strengthened? How can the poor experience justice? How can the nations of the world experience peace? In other words, how can we all be blessed? It is when we turn to the Savior and truly become children of God. And it is when we proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to all, so that the nations themselves might turn to the one true God. “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you!” (Ps 67:4/6).

May the Holy Spirit fill our hearts and our lives to enable us to fulfill our call to become children of God and our mission to renew the family. God has already done His part in sending His Son Jesus into the world, in Jesus suffering and dying for us, and in the Holy Spirit infilling us. “As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Gal 4:6).

As we start this new year, we continue to pray for God’s blessing, so that we can fulfill our mission, especially in proclaiming His salvation to the whole world. “May God bless us still; that the ends of the earth may revere him.” (Ps 67:8).

I invoke God’s blessing upon you all. “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.” (Nm 6:24-26). Amen.

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Copyright 2008 Couples for Christ Foundation, Inc.
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