Happy New Year!
We begin every New Year in the spirit of Christmas. On New Year's Day we celebrate Mary, Mother of God. It is a great opportunity to reflect on Mary, follow her example and ask her intercession on New Year’s Day. In the beginning God created Adam and Eve in the image and likeness of God and blessed them. That joy didn’t last too long, Adam and Eve got corrupted. So God promised a new Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15). At the annunciation, Mary, the new Eve accepted the invitation to become Mother of God, who invites us to do whatever the new Adam tells us to do (John 2:5). At the foot of the Cross, Mary suffered with her Son, Jesus, the new Adam, and transformed her motherhood. Jesus gave His Mother as our mother. In this New Year, let us give thanks to God for the many blessings he has showered upon us and ask our Mother Mary to intercede for us in this New Year 2022.
This Christmas season is short, and we are already celebrating Epiphany of the Lord. Prophets promised the coming of the Messiah, and they were waiting for his coming. When Jesus was born in a manger, there were only a few people who knew about his birth and came in adoration. On the Epiphany of the Lord, the first reading from the book of Isaiah, the light the prophet proclaims to Zion symbolizes the blessing to come to her: the glory of the Lord, the return of her children, the wealth of nations who themselves will walk by her light. The passage is famous from its use in the liturgy for the feast of Epiphany. “Arise, shine for your light has come”. Nations and Kings shall come to your light, caravans of camels bearing gold and frankincense from the East. Epiphany is the ‘shining forth’ of Christ. The light of Christ continues to shine on the Church, each one of us, as we evangelize the nation.
In the Gospel magi came to King Herod in search of the newborn King, Jesus. Herod reigned from 37 to 4 B.C. Magi were the Persian priestly caste and they were astrologers. It was a common ancient belief that a new star appeared at the time of a ruler’s birth. Matthew also draws upon the Old Testament story of Balaam, who had prophesied that “A star shall advance from Jacob” (Numbers 24:17). The magi came with an open heart and mind to adore the newborn King. For Herod, this message brought fear. He closed his mind and heart towards Jesus, but he pretended to show that he was eager to see him.
The identity of Christ is revealed to different people in different times: First prophets told in general about the coming of Messais. Then in an intimate way told Mary and Joseph, then to shepherd and magi and later to John the Baptist and then to disciples. The shepherds represent the poor and ignorant, and the magi represent pagan believers and intellectuals. The Good News is for everyone. The mission of the Church is to make Christ known to all nations (Matthew 28:19).
The identity of Christ is revealed to us. Do we listen to him? Do we keep our mind and heart open for him? Let us join the magi and walk up to the manger to adore him, to give thanks, and to listen. May Child Jesus bless all of us in the New Year 2022.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made our Christmas celebration beautiful. All three churches are decorated beautifully. The musicians did a wonderful job. At the children’s mass, our children did an awesome job—they sang joyfully and did a skit. A special thank you to all those who helped them to prepare. There were a lot of people who contributed to make our celebrations beautiful. Thank you—children, families, decorators, musicians, and all other ministers. Thank you!