Luke 2: 16-21
So they 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Down through the centuries in the Church’s prayer the eighth day after the birth of Jesus came to focus on the figure of Mary, Jesus’ mother. Perhaps that happened because of the simple line we hear in today’s gospel, as recorded by Luke: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” This line brings up a wonderful question: “How did Luke come to write down this history? Who was the eyewitness who told Luke the specific details of Jesus’ birth and early life? Well who else but Mary, Jesus’ mother?
It was quite likely that Mary explained to Luke how the angel Gabriel came to her. She must have explained the faithfulness of Joseph and the ordeal of the journey to Bethlehem. Mary no doubt told Luke how the neighbors, who were shepherds, arrived at the stable and spoke about the music of angels. She also explained the panic in Joseph’s and her hearts as they fled from Bethlehem for fear of King Herod’s wrath. Like any of our own parents, Mary “kept all these things in her heart.”
Let us flash forward from Bethlehem to New Year’s Day 2013: What about us? What do we keep in our hearts at the dawn of this New Year? With all the global, national, family, and personal challenges before us, just what do you and I hold in our hearts? As 2013 dawns, what in my own life do I bring to the Lord? Perhaps some question or worry something I want to leave in God’s hands as I move forward into the New Year.
What are my hopes as 2013 begins—hopes for my family? For our world? Hopes for my own heart, with the burdens and opportunities I carry? What are the hopes that I bring to Mary and Joseph and Jesus in the crib?
The common gift of life we celebrate this New Year’s Day is the Word made flesh. It is Jesus we hold in our souls and take to our hearts. It is Jesus we discover anew throughout 2013 and beyond. Happy New Year!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, unlike the shepherds who proclaimed the miracle of eternity to so many, your mother quietly pondered the convergence of the divine and human. Her thoughts and feelings delighted in her baby boy. In time she would recall the ways she protected you, encouraged you to develop your manhood, and, of course, how she and you would speak of the Father and your commitment to the Father’s calling. So much to treasure for Mary.
But as she pondered and looked forward, she began to realize that her heart must break. The day would come when her tears would be unstoppable. Yet the divine promise would ultimately triumph over human suffering and evil. Mary would stare into your eyes and glimpse our eternity. No matter what we experience this year, keep our glance on the meeting of your eyes with your Mother’s.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!