Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (World Day of Peace) January 1 2012
(Prayers of the Faithful for January 1st/ Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God now available under the tab above).
A Prayer for New Year (from the first reading)
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Say this to Aaron and his sons. Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.
(Numbers 6:22–27 NRSV)
So the shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
(Luke 2:16–21 NRSV)
One title of Mary might be ‘woman of peace’. She was not on any peace commission nor on councils. She had no great political influence but she brought her contribution to peace…the birth and education of the prince of peace, a woman of gentle peace in her world, her family, her village. She brought together the family of Jesus and the followers of Jesus as a mother of peace.
Our roles in life are mostly small . Most of us have little political clout, little influence in our church; but in many ways we can be people of peace. All are Called to be peacemakers. The gospel is the peace scene of the crib.
Like the people in our country over the troubled years, and still recently, who spoke well of Protestants and Catholics and didn’t add to the prejudice. Putting into action the words of a Catholic bishop, Cardinal Daly, at the time of great violence – words like ‘Protestant tears and Catholic tears are the same…you can’t bomb people into a united Ireland…you cannot force a million people into a united country they don’t want. We salute the people who worked for peace in their locality.
Based on Justice
Our peace is to be based on justice. When we treat people justly and with respect we work for peace, as well as when we try to make up for past misunderstandings, we are working for peace.
While we can’t influence world events that much maybe we can be people of peace in words and in our willingness to work for peaceful relations in our small circle of the world. That was Mary – and she brought the biggest influence for peace into our world We can all be peace workers, peacemakers, doers of peace, speakers of peace. We call this feast her solemnity and one of her legacies is a deep simplicity that spread peace.
Donal Neary SJ