LK 2: 16-21



Maria, Madre di Dio



There are two ways of looking at time. One is to see it as physical time. Aristotle defined time as the measurement of “before” and “after” a motion or change, therefore a succession of moments. Here, only the present exists; the past is no more, and the future is not yet. The Greeks called this time “chronos,” which is measured by the clock and the calendar.


Another way is to look at time as personal or interiorized time. Here, the past is not totally gone but present in us through memory. The future is not empty or unreal but is an attraction or challenge through our imagination. Not all moments are equal because some moments are decisive and more significant than others. St. Augustine said the soul is capable of embracing the past and reaching out to the future. We can unite in ourselves the past, the present and the future.


We often wonder why New Year is the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The gospel gives us a hint. Coming to terms with Jesus’s birth and the stories about him from the angels and the shepherds, Mary “kept” and “reflected” in her heart on many things. She returned to the memory of God’s promises to Israel in the past. She imagined how her Child will fulfill these promises in the future. She responded to the challenge of the present to participate in the unfolding of God’s plan for the salvation of the world.


If we look at time only physically, then in our past, we will feel regrets, sorrow, meaninglessness. And the future, we will face with panic, fear, and worry. But if we regard time as personal or interior, then in our hearts there can be a unity. The past is there to serve as lessons; the future offers hope; and today becomes the best offering we can give to the Lord and to others.


2022, the second year of the pandemic will not go down in history only as a series of lockdowns, deaths and failures by governments and health authorities. For Christians, even this worldwide challenge will be remembered as God’s expression of his saving love for those who suffered, his mighty deliverance for his faithful people and his unceasing Providence through the generosity, kindness and concern of his children for each other, specially for the poor.


Today, New Year, let us ask the Blessed Mother to bring us close to Jesus. May she help us remember God’s goodness in the past year. May she help us look forward to more blessings in the coming days. May she open our eyes to see Jesus each moment that we live, work, play, and pray together for a better world.