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Homily for Mary, Mother of God 2023

by | Jan 1, 2023

A few months ago, I got a new phone and I’m still learning how to use it. Yesterday morning, I noticed on my phone a little icon entitled, “A Year In Review.” It was a photo album of pictures that I had taken last year, beginning with Jan 1, 2022. The first picture being of beautiful dog named “Dallas.” It went on to show pictures of new babies, great nieces, nephews, weddings, birthdays, people of fun, people no longer with us. What a great surprise that was. I continue to marvel at modern technology.

We now live in a world with information at our fingertips. In fact, we are inundated with information. Those who have mastered the skill of using the ‘phone’ have become expert skimmers. With little effort, we look stuff up and get what we need and ignore the rest. However, as great as modern technology is, we’ve lost something. Today, Mary gives it back to us. And that is the gift to ‘ponder’. For most of us, time is so valuable, and so to take time to sit and talk to Jesus about life, struggles and decisions requires a commitment and trust. When God is left out of my journey of faith, my life becomes less fruitful. And yet as Mary shows us, to ponder the works of God in our lives is so paramount.

And yet, I suspect that many do not even know how to ponder as Mary did. In fact, if I asked my nieces or nephews, “what are you pondering today?” I’m sure that I would get a blank stare or an awkward look. What is ponder? What does it mean? To ponder is to thing about something carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion. For many, thoughts dwell on something else… usually yesterday’s regrets, today’s to-do’s or tomorrow’s worries. This kind of thinking usually leaves us feeling stressed out and anxious: a sure sign that we have not included Jesus. And that can easily happen.

In today’s Gospel, Mary in her gentle way, inspires us to a deeper, prayerful kind of thinking … she ponders. In Luke’s first two chapters we see Mary ponder three times:

  • at the angel Gabrial’s greeting
  • as the shepherds share what they’d seen and heard
  • and when she finds Jesus in the temple

In those moments, Mary may have felt at a loss, confused and even afraid, but instead of giving in and dwelling on fear or doubt, Mary chose to treasure God’s words and to ponder (think about carefully) God at work in her life. Why would God choose her? A 14-year-old girl? From a little village? Not married, and so on. She didn’t have all the answers, but she had great faith and trusted in the One who did.

Mary’s example and ongoing help, reminds us to take time out and to ponder. When we do, we remember what we know: that Emmanuel… God’ is with us; regardless of age or status, God has a plan and a purpose for us; and God equips each one of us. In any and every circumstance, we can know peace, love and joy if, like Mary, we stop and time to think about carefully… or to ponder God’s words and trust.

As we honour Mary, the Mother of God January 1 (on this World Day of Peace), let us pray for peace … in our world and in our hearts. As well, let us take time to ponder and treasure the peace that only Jesus brings into our lives… through the love and compassion of others. Amen.