For the gift of this New Year, we say ‘Thank You.’ God has already blessed us. No delay – ‘Thanks.’ He continues to bless us as we go forward, letting go of the past, trusting His Spirit with us, guiding us each new day.
In a world that is often frightening, a world of broken relationships, of vanishing signposts, of violence and pain, who can we trust? To whom can we turn? Can we believe that this New Year is a good year? That this day is a good day?
In her wisdom the Church on 1st January celebrates the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Mater Dei – surely the greatest of her titles. A Mother who nurtured and reared Jesus, the Son of God; a Mother given to us with his dying breath on the cross when he said to John, “Son, behold your Mother.”
This is the Mother who even as she formed Jesus in her human image, will form us in his divine image. A Mother who cares for us, shelters us and walks beside us into this new year. We put our hands in hers and step forward in faith, knowing that she will, with the tenderness of her motherly heart, guide us through the days ahead. Our situation may feel desperate, we may be lost in a dark valley, but we are not on our own.
“They have no wine” (Jn Ch 2). Undeterred by her Son’s “How does your concern affect me?” she calmly tells the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” She knew him so well. He heard her concern, as she knew he would. And so, his first miracle, the first of his ‘signs’ in John’s gospel – gallons of water changed into wine. Overflowing wine. Wine for everyone. Abundant joy. Healing forgiveness.
This woman, so sensitive to the quandary of the bride and groom, is she not ready to help us? Her sensitivity to the needs of others, her readiness to meet those needs inspires us to do likewise. She asks us to listen to her Son and, “Do whatever he tells you.”
An attentive listening in the quiet of our hearts. We too are called to reach out to others, to be caring, generous with our time and talents and always willing to serve without mumbling or complaining. “Always be joyful!” (Phil Ch 4).
So yes, we can believe this is a good year as with faith and courage we go forward with a ‘mighty kindness’ (Pope Francis), towards all. We must be that mighty kindness – no half measures but filled to the brim with a profound respect, a deep listening, a warm compassion that works a quiet and deep transformation in our lives and in the life of the world.
Sr Redempta Twomey