The solemnity of Mary the Holy Mother of God

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - December 31, 2015 - 9:00am

It’s New Year’s Day of the Year 2016 and allow me to greet all our faithful readers a very happy and hopefully a prosperous New Year to you all. As it is our very first column in this first day or the New Year, we won’t be writing any political stories or events although we do have tons of material to write about however, I’d rather that I submit to one of the most important teachings that our Lord Jesus Christ imparted to his disciples and all the way down to all Christians, which we can read in Matthew 6:33, which goes, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be give you besides.”

For the past many years now, allow me to share with you a New Year’s resolution that I have never broken… it is that when I wake up in the morning, it is the time I pray the rosary. Years back, I prayed to the Lord before the Blessed Sacrament for a New Year’s resolution that I would not break and somehow, the Lord granted me that New Year’s wish years ago. By praying right after you wake up is turning into reality what our Lord has taught us to seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.

So for this first column of the Year, we make it like our Sunday column and look into today’s gospel reading and reflect on this first scripture reading for the New Year, thus giving honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s scripture reading comes from Luke 2: 16-21.

“16 The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about the child. 18 All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

19 And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; just as it had been told to them. 21 When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”

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I have no doubt that the arrival of the shepherds in the cave in Bethlehem where our Lord Jesus Christ was born where they found the Holy Family, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and the baby Jesus lying on a manger as told to them by the message of an angel wasn’t just a dream. It was a reality, especially when they also saw the multitude of the heavenly host singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he is pleased.”

While the conversation between the Holy Family and the shepherd is not written in scripture, however it is clearly written, “When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about the child.” I’m sure that St. Joseph and Mary must have been taken by surprise that all of the sudden, they had visitors inside the cave… and the shepherds who saw the newly born babe told them with excitement what the angels have reported to them… including their seeing the multitude of the heavenly host singing praises to God.

For the Holy Family, who already knew that their child is the Son of the Most High, what the shepherds told me was a confirmation of what had been foretold by the prophets and the angel Gabriel during the annunciation. This is why in today’s gospel reading, it says, “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Then eight days after his birth, the baby Jesus was circumcised in accordance with Jewish law and named Jesus as what the angel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Today is the solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God where on the year 431AD, the Catholic Church named her as Mother of God or Theotokos (or God bearer) and it ushers the beginning of the salvation of mankind who thousands of years before was banished from Paradise because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Mary’s obedience to the angel Gabriel makes her part of God’s plan for salvation.

In 1974, Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical called Marialis Cultus to commemorate this sacred mystery of salvation and bestowed upon Mary as the Queen of Peace, hence today has also been declared by the Catholic Church as the World Day of Peace.

These titles given by the Pope is fitting after all, God came to this world to save us from our sinfulness and restore order and give peace on earth. While today’s world is far from peaceful, we can only pray on this World Day of Peace that through God’s only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at least here in our country we can experience this peace that only Jesus Christ the Messiah can bring to the world.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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