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New Year 2013:  Mary, Mother of God

Another doomsday prophecy has passed.
December 21, 2012 came and went… just like any other day in the calendar.  Except that, from the start of last year, everybody was gripped with fear that this day would be the end of the world.  Indeed, the Mayans who made their calendar are no longer here to explain their thoughts.  Their ancient world has ended and their rich civilization with it. New Agers read doom into the Mayan calculation. But the end? It is not yet a thing for us, as you and I now fully know. 
We are not lacking in the so-called “preppers” who make it their focus to stop the routine of their daily lives and prepare for the worst to come. The world is full of people who  spread fear and disquiet among their family and friends.
This means we never learned from our past.  There have been and will be many prophecies of doom, maybe this year or maybe in the coming of couple of years.  The world will hear many future rumors of the so-called “end”, just to wake up the following morning and find themselves surviving for many more years!
Today we celebrate the New Year once more. Greetings to all of you and to your loved ones from our parish community.
Each New Year is a testimony that for God, the world does not end, for His love never ends. Our lives continue to be in God’s hands. God is not the God of terminations, but the God of beginnings.  He is the God of second chances, many chances,  the God of opportunities to come.  Our God is the God of hope.  In him, hope for good things never runs dry.
There are indeed many ends, many stops, many doomsdays in our history.  But these do not come from God.  They come from us, men and women of today. 
When we remove God from our lives and banish him from society, we put an end to meaningful living and right relationships. When we prioritize condoms over values and spirituality among the population, we crush character and virtues.  When we follow the dictates of wrong reasoning and polished rhetoric of corrupt leaders, we say “no” to a future where our children and children’s children can live in prosperity and peace.  When as Church and as Catholics, we are satisfied with praying and devotions without witnessing and involvement, we pronounce a death sentence to the flourishing of faith.
The end will come, in fact, regularly comes, when we decide to ignore God in our lives and follow our will instead.
In the New Year, the Lord reminds us how good his intentions are for our lives as he has repeatedly promised.  But he also challenges us to join him in transforming the world and making things new again. it is our job then, as Christians to make the year new by our fidelity to the Lord.
In the gospel (Luke 2), observe the two humble people surrounding the Child Jesus.  These two were the great cooperators of God in renewing the history of the world.  Joseph in his silence and obedience made the will of God the only center of his life.  Mary, with whose feast we open the year, willingly offered all her life so that can God enter and be part of our human journey.
While people speak of doom and see only darkness, Mary and Joseph refused to join in their vain chorus.  Instead they offered themselves as vehicles of the beginning, the star of God’s interaction with a desperate world.
Today is the New Year, not an end but a beginning.  This is our chance to welcome Jesus and contribute to his cause of changing the world, the church and our selves by opening our selves to the love of God. This year, may we be prophets of hope, instruments of faith, living testimonies of love for others, starting with the people we live closely with. 
We begin not with doomsday predictions that fail.  We begin the year powerfully with prayer and blessings. Nothing can harm us.  Nothing can defeat us or pull us down.  Open your heart to this blessing from our first reading (Num 6): The Lord bless you and keep you!  The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!