Lectionary Reflections: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God January 1, 2015

Engaging Faith | Tue, Dec 23, 2014

By John Bucki, S.J.



Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2015

Copyright © 2014 Center of Concern


Numbers 6:22-27

Galatians 4:4-7

Luke 2:16-21



January 1: World Day of Prayer for Peace; New Year’s Day

January 1: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

January 4: Epiphany of the Lord 

January 4: Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

January 4-10: National Migration Week 

January 7: Orthodox Christmas Day



Peace remains possible. And if peace is possible, it is also a duty!

- John Paul II, Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 2004


I invite every man and woman to have a more lively sense of belonging to the one human family, and to strive to make human coexistence increasingly reflect this conviction, which is essential for the establishment of true and lasting peace. I likewise invite believers to implore tirelessly from God the great gift of peace.

- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2008


May Mary show us, in her Son, the Way of peace, and enlighten our vision, so that we can recognize Christ's face in the face of every human person, the heart of peace!

- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2007


In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced. 

 - Pope Francis, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2014


Ring out old shapes of foul disease, ring out the narrowing lust of gold, ring out the thousand wars of old, ring in the thousand years of peace.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson


Let us leave a spare place at our table: a place for those who lack the basics, who are alone.

 - Pope Francis @Pontifex · Jan 7, 2014


Thoughts for your consideration

The blessing given in Numbers is something that is meant to be shared with the whole human community. It is a hopeful blessing for the whole world.  It must be all inclusive if it is to have its full power. “… in the diversity of ethnic groups, societies and cultures, we see the seeds of a vocation to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another.” (Pope Francis, 1 January 2014)

The birth of a child is a sign of hope – hope not just for the parents and immediate family, but also for the whole community.  The life of Mary of Nazareth is a sign of hope – not just because her faith made her holy, but also because it says something to us all. “As mother of all, she is a sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 286)

The Solemnity of Mary is a sign of hope to the world.  It is a sign that we can give birth to a new vision – the vision of Jesus in the world – a vision of Justice and Peace – a vision of freedom and liberation from oppression – a vision of social change and concern for the common good – a vision of a world without racism and prejudice  -- a vision of a world that respects ethnic and racial diversity – a vision of a human community that respects the planet -- a vision of a world that can move beyond war and terrorism -- a vision of God present in the poor child and the young woman of Nazareth – a vision of God to be found in all the people and things of our world and especially among the poor.

In the gospel the shepherds come to see the child lying in the manger.  This child just by being there speaks to us of the peace to which God calls us – a peace that contrasts with all the forces of power, greed, selfishness, weaponry, and violence that prevail in our world.   “The grave financial and economic crises of the present time – which find their origin in the progressive distancing of man from God and from his neighbor, in the greedy pursuit of material goods on the one hand, and in the impoverishment of interpersonal and community relations on the other – have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy.”  (Pope Francis, 1 January 2014)

January 1: World Day of Prayer for Peace

Pope Paul’s Message for the first World Day of Peace 1968 reminded us that “Peace is the only true direction of human progress - and not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor conquests by violence, nor repressions which serve as mainstay for a false civil order - We do so because Peace is part and parcel of the Christian religion, since for a Christian to proclaim peace is the same as to announce Jesus Christ: "He is our peace" (Eph. ii. 14) and His good news is "the Gospel of peace" (Eph. vi. 15).”

Pope Benedict’s Message for the World Day for Peace 2012, “Educating Young People in Peace and Justice” exhorted the world:  “Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey; let us work together to give our world a more humane and fraternal face; and let us feel a common responsibility towards present and future generations, especially in the task of training them to be people of peace and builders of peace.”

Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day for Peace 2014, Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway of Peace reminded us that “… effective policies are needed to promote the principle of fraternity, securing for people – who are equal in dignity and in fundamental rights – access to capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology so that every person has the opportunity to express and realize his or her life project and can develop fully as a person. One also sees the need for policies which can lighten an excessive imbalance between incomes.”

Pope Francis’ Message for this year (2015) is entitled “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters.”   He writes: “Today, as the result of a growth in our awareness, slavery, seen as a crime against humanity, has been formally abolished throughout the world. The right of each person not to be kept in a state of slavery or servitude has been recognized in international law as inviolable. Yet, even though the international community has adopted numerous agreements aimed at ending slavery in all its forms, and has launched various strategies to combat this phenomenon, millions of people today – children, women and men of all ages – are deprived of freedom and are forced to live in conditions akin to slavery.”

The popes have been issuing messages each January 1 for the World Day for Peace for over 45 years.  They can all be read on line.

The messages of Paul VI can be found at: 

The messages of John Paul II can be found at:

The messages of Benedict XVI can be found at: 

This year’s message from Pope Francis can be found at: 



Two wolves:

A Cherokee elder sitting with his grandchildren told them, :In every life there is a terrible fight - a fight between two wolves.

One is evil: he is fear, anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, and deceit.

The other is good: joy, serenity, humility, confidence, generosity, truth, gentleness, and compassion."

A child asked, "Grandfather, which wolf will win?" 

The elder looked her in the eye.  "The one you feed."


Actions – Links

National Migration Week: "We are One Family Under God.”

Resources for liturgy and other info about National Migration Week (January 4-10) can be found at the site of the NCCB/USCC Office for Migration and Refugee Services:

Pope Francis’ messages for recent World Days for Migrants and Refugees can be found at:


World Day of Peace 2015

To read Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Peace which is 1 January 2015, go to: 


Unemployed Workers is a project of the National Employment Law Project (NELP). NELPworks to restore the promise of economic opportunity in the 21st century economy and has led advocacy to modernize and bolster the safety net for jobless workers for over 10 years.  Find our more at:

Pope’s Letter to Christians in the Middle East: 


“Crazy Facts”

“The Wealth Gap Between Whites And Minorities Is Growing.”

“In 2013, the net worth of the typical white family was nearly 13 times that of the typical black family, and 10 times that of the typical Latino one.”

Read the article at:


Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, in this new year, lead us on the way of peace.

For an end to all the wars especially the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, and so many places, we pray…

For a new spirit of healing and racial justice in the United States, we pray….

For an end to slavery, human trafficking, and other forms of oppression, we pray….

That effective dialogue replaces the fighting and barriers between Israelis and Palestinians, we pray….

That nations find a way to do away with nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction, we pray….

That we spend our resources on human needs rather than on preparation for war, we pray…

That there be an end to all violence in our nation, especially gang violence in our cities, and gun violence in so many places, we pray….

That there may be an end to all domestic violence in our homes, we pray….

For an end to the terrible reality of children growing up in poverty, we pray….



"O God, all holy one, you are our Mother and our Father and we are your children. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may be able to discern your work in the universe. And be able to see Your features in every one of Your children. May we learn that there are many paths but all lead to You. Help us to know that you have created us for family, for togetherness, for peace, for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing.”

“May we know that You want us to care for one another as those who know that they are sisters and brothers, members of the same family, Your family, the human family. Help us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, so that we may be able to live in peace and harmony, wiping away the tears from the eyes of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And may we know war no more, as we strive to be what You want us to be: Your children. Amen.”

 - Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa


Lord, our God, 

let there be peace in the world, 

no more wars, 

no more fighting, 

no more killing.

Teach us to trust one another so we can share 

our problems as well as our joys. 

Teach us to care about one another and to 

understand each other. 

Teach world leaders to respect all people, 

especially their own. 

Help us to make peace wherever we are and to do 

our small bit to bring peace to the world. 

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

- Posted on their web site by a 6th grade class in Australia at: