SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD (A)
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. We also celebrate the Day of Prayer for Peace, started by Pope Paul VI, and proclaimed by the Church. Why do we celebrate the Day of Peace on the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God? There are many ingredients of peace. Among them are the following:
1. Respect for life, family and creation. This requires some tolerance, development and proper use of the different abilities and styles of people, as well as the recognition that people have to use God’s creation for the good of all.
2. Implementation of and compliance with the divine and human laws, government laws and reasonable regulations that lead to development of peoples.
3. Recognition that justice is a gift from God, and that justice is the mercy and love of God for the salvation of all, as well as for peace among peoples. A government without justice has no peace; so a man who does not practice justice is far from God. Man’s justice cannot simply stop in giving what is due t the other, but to realize that God loves the faithful and is merciful to the sinner who returns to Him.
4. Respect for Religious Freedom is an essential need, as a person basically seeks his creator and aspires to be one with Him in time and eternity.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his letter on the celebration of the Day of Peace for 2008, cites that the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace…. Indeed, in a healthy family life we experience some of the fundamental elements of peace: justice and love between brothers and sisters, the role of authority expressed by parents, loving concern for the members who are weaker because of youth, sickness or old age, mutual help in the necessities of life, readiness to accept others and, if necessary, to forgive them (vatican.va, December 8, 2007).
On the celebration of the Day of Peace and talking about religious freedom, the path to peace, Pope Benedict said: Peace is a gift of God and at the same time a task which is never fully completed. A society reconciled with God is closer to peace, which is not the mere absence of war or the result of military or economic supremacy, much less deceptive ploys or clever manipulation. Rather, peace is the result of a process of purification and of cultural, moral and spiritual elevation involving each individual and people, a process in which human dignity is fully respected…. Religious freedom is an authentic weapon of peace, with an historical and prophetic mission. Peace brings to full fruition the deepest qualities and potentials of the human person, the qualities which can change the world and make it better. It gives hope for a future of justice and peace, even in the face of grave injustice and material and moral poverty (#15, “Religious freedom, the path to peace,” www.vatican.va, December 8, 2010).
The first day of the year is given to us by the Church as the Feast/Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Mothers are usually the first source, but certainly not the only source, of peace and love. Mary is the first teacher of peace. She was born without the taint of Original Sin that is the cause of turmoil in man. She listened to and meekly obeyed God that She would be the Mother of Jesus, the source of peace. She cheerfully reared and educated Jesus in virtues and in the Jewish laws and culture. She calmly accepted Her pains of the passion and death of Jesus for the peace and salvation of all. She generously offered Herself to be the mother of all, as She is the Mother of Jesus, the firstborn of all creatures. She is the Mother of all Christians who seek peace, Jesus, the only source of real peace in the world.
Today and the rest of the year, let us always seek Jesus in our hearts and in our relationships. Let us always give way to improvement of our capabilities to seek the ways of peace: justice, love, respect, education and the other virtues. Peace will not start from anyone, but from ourselves, with Jesus in our hearts. St. Paul says:
Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you (Col 3:15ff).
May this Eucharist we celebrate fill us with the love of Jesus, and let His peace prevail always in us. A Blessed New Year to you all.