Mary and the shepherds

Mary and the shepherds

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

JANUARY 1 is, of course, Happy New Year’s Day! A new beginning is offered to us. Let’s be happy and hopeful. Yes, we will always have challenges and trials, etc., but let’s never forget that we have God as our Father who takes care of everything. We just have to do our part in the best way that we can.

Liturgically, January 1 celebrates the divine motherhood of Mary. It’s a tremendous truth of our Christian faith if we consider the question of how a creature can become the mother of the Creator. It surely defies all human logic and understanding.

To me, what comes to mind is the reinforcement of the truth of our faith that man has truly been created in God’s image and likeness. That Mary, a human being, a creature of God, becomes the mother of God, proves that point of our connaturality with God.

In spite of our natural and infranatural limitations due to our sin, there is a certain connaturality we enjoy with God. Such connaturality can be to such an extent that we can conclude that how God is also how we ought to be. Incredible? Of course, it is, but that’s how our faith tells us.

Obviously, it can only be achieved through God’s grace. We can try to go along with God’s will and ways, but we all know very well that we can only go so far. It will be God, through his grace and mercy, that would enable us to acquire our connaturality with God. Tremendous faith is required of us to believe and say, “Amen,” to this truth of our faith.

In the gospel of this feast’s celebration, (Lk 2,16-21) we are told about the shepherds who hurried to look for the newborn Christ after they were informed by a host of angels. Let’s hope that we can also have such eagerness to look for Christ not only as a newborn but also as our Savior who redeems us with his passion, death and resurrection. Like them, let’s spread far and wide without let-up the Good News about Christ.

Such attitude would surely put us in the right condition to be consistent with our Christian belief even as we immerse ourselves in our earthly and temporal affairs that often lead us to get entangled, confused and lost. Let’s see to it that we can always be driven by an urge to look for Christ the way the shepherds were.

In the same gospel, we are also told about how Mary kept and reflected in her heart the good things she heard from the shepherds. It’s a stable trait of Mary to always ponder things that she heard from Christ and about Christ.

May that trait also be ours! We cannot deny that we often find ourselves carried away and swallowed by earthly forces. We forget that we are supposed to live a shared life with God. God should be the beginning, the end and a constant presence in all our thoughts, intentions, words and deeds.

Let us develop the habit of meditating and contemplating the presence of God at every moment of the day. It’s truly a discipline worth learning. It should not be considered as meant only for some ‘special’ people like the religious nuns and hermits. It’s for all of us.

As we begin another year, let’s clarify our priorities and establish the proper plans, structures and programs so that we can really say we are truly engaged in pursuing the real purpose of our life here on earth.

Again, a Happy New Year to all!

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