LIKE MARY, WE CAN WALK CONFIDENTLY IN THE BLESSING AND PEACE OF THE LORD
(A biblical refection on THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD – Monday, 1 January 2018)
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
First Reading: Numbers 6:22-27
Psalms: Psalm 67:2-3,5-6,8; Second Reading: Galatians 4:4-7; Gospel Reading: Luke 2:16-21
The Scripture Text
The LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron and his sons, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
So shall they put My name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27 RSV)
As we stand at the threshold of a new year, the church reaffirms God’s promise to bless us and keep us (Numbers 6:24). In celebrating the feast of Mary the Mother of God, we proclaim the glorious truth that in Mary’s womb the Second Person of the Trinity united Himself completely with our humanity. “Taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to … death, He surrendered His body to death in place of all. … Through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all were clothed with incorruption” (Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation, 8,9).
In Mary, we see the portrait of one who knew God’s face shining upon her, filling her with grace (Numbers 6:25). Looking upon her with love and showering her with divine grace, God prepared her to say “yes” to His plan that she bear His Son in this world. As Mary consented in faith, the Father gave her His peace (Numbers 6:26), continually encouraging her to trust Him as she saw His plan unfold. How deeply she must have needed this peace, as she faced dangerous and frightening circumstances (Luke 2:4-7; Matthew 2:13-15)! In each situation, Mary learned to trust more fully that God would bless her and keep her (Number 6:24).
Because the Son of God took flesh in Mary’s womb, we too can share in these wonderful blessings. We have been baptized into Christ, we have a share in His divinity, and in His humanity. We are heirs of the blessings that God gave to Israel and in a particular way to Mary, the beloved Daughter of Zion.
Like Mary, we can walk confidently in the blessing and peace of the Lord. The Son of God, who left His throne to become one like us, has conquered sin and death for all of us. Each day, we can freely receive the life of Jesus into our hearts simply by responding “yes” to the Lord’s call, just as Mary did. By Jesus’ sanctifying blood, we hve been made vessels of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to cry out “Abba! Father!” as true daughters and sons of God (Galatians 4:6-7). The Lord is not far off, but very near; indeed, He dwells within us through His Holy Spirit. Let us turn to Him and allow His blessing, grace, and mercy to shine upon us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for peace. As we celebrate the first day of the new year, may the King of heaven and earth, who was born through Mary, The Mother of God and Queen of Peace, reign in our hearts and make us instruments of peace. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 30 December 2017
A Christian Pilgrim