Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 1, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Nm 6:22-27 / Ps 67 / Gal 4:4-7 / Lk 2:16-21
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A story is told about an eight-year-old boy who lived in Poland about nine decades ago. He used to see his father kneeling down, praying on a hardwood floor in their house when he came home from school. One evening when he came home, he saw his dad kneeling with his shirt soaked with his own tears. When he asked him what was wrong, his father said, “Son, your mother just died.”
Not knowing what to do, the boy ran out of his house and went to the local Catholic church which was just half a block from their house. He entered the church and knelt down in front of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and said to her, “Blessed Mother of Jesus, I don’t know why God took my mother to His home at the time He did, but I do know one thing: You are my mother now.”
My dear brothers and sister, that little boy was Karol Wojtyla who eventually became Pope John Paul II, and, as we all know, he is now a saint. This great saint went through a lot of hardships throughout his life; he was even almost assassinated! But Saint John Paul II said repeatedly that he survived all those trials because of the protection of the Blessed Mother.
Today, the first day of the year 2021, is also a Solemnity. It’s the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Holy Mother of God. And, yes, we also honor her today as our own mother. We have a good number of documented cases where the Blessed Mother has been protecting all her children all these years, and we believe that she will continue to do so for us.
The past year, as we all know, has been challenging and even devastating to many, but somehow, we were able to navigate the troubled waters of this pandemic. And the fact that we are all here inside the church of Holy Name of Mary at this very moment, and the fact that you are all there, in your homes, joining us in prayer in this celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, goes to show that our faith in the Lord God is stronger than the coronavirus.
As Saint Paul puts it in his letter to the Romans, “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish? Or distress? Or famine?” Or, we may also add, pandemic? No, in all things we will conquer through Him who loves us.
Humans as we all are, we have our weak moments. When this comes, we may get discouraged. But if there was one person who had every reason to get discouraged, it was St. John Paul II. His mother died when he was only eight years old. He suffered a lot during the communist regime in his own country, in Poland. He was almost killed by bullets during his papacy and had been suffering from a debilitating illness for many years, but he never gave up. He became one of the greatest human beings who ever lived on this planet.
The turning point in his life was definitely that momentous day when he turned over his whole life to the care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we begin another year, our Holy Mother Church has given us this feast of the Blessed Mother of God that we may have always in mind the good news that she is our mother, who will always lead us to her son, Jesus, who is the source of all hope. With her on our side, we will be able to live St. Paul’s advice to the Philippians, to forget the past and to press on to what lies ahead.