Only two gospels narrate the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life. Both Matthew and Luke relate the infancy narratives and together with these, the story they know of Mary, the virgin mother of God’s Only Son. Matthew runs short of stories on Mary after the birth of the Messiah, while Luke continues to include Mary in the unfolding drama still to happen even after the Resurrection.

In the gospel of Luke, Mary was the only adult who makes it through Jesus’ transition from infancy, childhood, ministry, death and resurrection. And Luke shows the significance of Mary as she follows her Son throughout her life. It was she who “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart,” as today’s gospel tells us, Luke 2: 16-21.

What did Mary keep in her heart? What did she reflect on? What did she understand? More importantly, what did she not understand? What was it she found confusing about her child and his mission in the world?

Mary learned, not without any difficulty and pain, of Jesus’ total absorption to his Heavenly Father’s call and mandate. This devotion would make him later forsake his own natural family in search of a new family of faith. This will bring him to his untimely death and his glorious Resurrection. This will start a community of brothers and sisters whose invisible bonds are faith hope and love.

Mary learned that having physical ties with Jesus is not the most important thing, for Jesus did not care about the merely physicial or natural. Rather it is faith and obedience to God that unites one to Jesus. Mary did not lay a claim on Jesus as his natural mother. As she pondered, she always considered herself a servant and follower of the Messiah born into the world.

As we pray for various graces this year for our families and friends, let us remember to pray for the deep knowledge that Mary had as she tried to reflect on her relationship with the mystery of Jesus. Like Mary, may we too find an increase of faith, an abundance of hope, and a generosity of love in our lives this year and always.  A Blessed New Year to all!