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  • Fr. John Hanic

Homily Within the Octave of Christmas

MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21

Saint Stephen/Saint John Baptist de la Salle January 1, 2023

Long before Christmas, I start receiving phone calls asking what time Mass will be. Most of these calls are from visitors, or people who do not attend Mass on a weekly basis. And what they want to know is just what I said, "What time does Mass begin?" The second most frequently asked question is, "How long will Mass last?" I try not to let these questions upset me, so I answer by telling them what they want to know, the times for our Mass schedule and that Mass will last about an hour. They are asking, of course, because they are trying to plan and control time, the time they feel they have. That is because most people, when they think about time, are thinking about a watch or a clock that they are using to keep track of time. And boy do we ever keep track of time. There are those who even ask for more time. Some people even think they can lose time.

There are also those who think they can find time, give time, or even make up time. But we also know, at least deep inside ourselves, that we really can't do any of those things, because time is not something we have any control over. That is why Paul told the Galatians, "When the fullness of time came, God sent his Son." For Paul, the "fullness of time" meant that moment in history, when God knew it was right for God to become a human being. What is interesting, is that we don't really know when this "fullness of time" was. That is because God is in charge of time, and we are not. God's Son, Jesus, was "sent" by God to be born by a woman. That woman, of course, was the one we call Mary. Therefore, we have every right to call Mary the Mother of God, the title by which we honor her today.


So, why did God break into time, to be born by a woman, and live among us? God did this so that we might understand who we really are, Sons and Daughters of God. Through Jesus, God chose all people to be God's Daughters and Sons, members of the same family. The answer is very simple. And so, this human family begins another New Year. We can still remember what the New Year of 2022 was like. This past year we knew many happy moments of life, unfolding with beauty and promise. However, like every other year, and for some, more than many other years, 2022 also brought about tragedy. Now we are faced with the triumphs and tragedies of the New Year, 2023. And all we can confirm, with any certainty about this New Year, is that the future is hidden

form our eyes. 2023 will be a year with its hopes and disappointments, successes and failures, pleasures and pains, joys, and sorrows. This is the year that we will face, but we will not face it alone. As Daughters and Sons of God, as members of God's family, we have each other to help

prepare for all that lies ahead. Never more must we fear that we are in this alone. God has given us all the time we need, to let God's face shine upon us, to be gracious to us, to look upon us kindly, and to give us peace. The Cross of Jesus stands before us as we enter this New Years' Time. And, whatever shape the Cross takes in this New Year, it will bear fruit for us. We are not slaves to fate or time, we are Sons and Daughters of God. We are children, filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who never failed our Mother Mary, the Holy Spirit who will never fail us. The Holy Spirit will be with us, to carry us safely through 2023.

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