Solemnity of Mary

Engaging Faith | Sun, Dec 30, 2012

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for 1 January 2013.

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2013


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: Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 5: Feast of St. John Neumann
January 6: Epiphany of the Lord
January 6-12: 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 order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution.
~ Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2012

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

God is in the world, the God of Jesus, fully on the side of man.
~ Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2013

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.

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.

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 in the lying in the manger.  This child is a concrete image of the peace to which God calls us – a peace that contrasts with all the images of power, greed, selfishness, weaponry, and violence that prevail in our world.


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 2008, “The Human Family, A Community of Peace,” reminded us  that “the peoples of the earth are called to build relationships of solidarity and cooperation among themselves, as befits members of the one human family: “All peoples’—as the Second Vatican Council declared—‘are one community and have one origin, because God caused the whole human race to dwell on the face of the earth (cf. Acts 17:26); they also have one final end, God’.”

Pope Benedict’s Message for the World Day for Peace 2013, “It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism. In addition to the varied forms of terrorism and international crime, peace is also endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion, which is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people.”

The popes have been issuing messages each January 1 for the World Day for Peace for 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:

Actions – Links

National Migration Week: Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice
Resources for liturgy and other info about National Migration Week (January6-12) can be found at the site of the NCCB/USCC Office for Migration and Refugee Services: .   Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees can be found at:

World Day of Peace 2013
To read Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day of Peace which is 1 January 2013, go to The theme is “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

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 the last 10 years.  Consider speaking up at

Poverty USA
Poverty USA is an initiation of the Campaign for Human Development.

“Crazy Facts”

In 2010, 46.2 million people lived in Poverty USA, up from 43.6 million in 2009. That’s means the poverty rate for 2010 was 15.1%, up from 14.3% in 2009.
2010 marked the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people living in poverty. The poverty rate, or percentage of the overall population living in poverty, has steadily increased as well, up to 15.1% in 2010 from 12.5% in 2007.
The number of people living in poverty in 2010 (46.2 million) is the largest number seen in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.
In 2010, 22% of all children lived in Poverty USA—that’s over 1 in every 5 children.
In 2009, the National Center on Family Homelessness analyzed state-level data and found that nationwide, 1.5 million children experience homelessness in a year.
Though the official census data gives seniors a 2010 poverty rate of only 9%, the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for expenses such as the rising costs of health care, raises the senior poverty rate to an astounding 15.9%–higher than the overall poverty rate.
According to 2010 US Census Data, the highest poverty rate by race is found among Blacks (27.4%), with Hispanics (of any race) having the second highest poverty rate (26.6%). Whites had a poverty rate of 13.0%, while Asians had the lowest poverty rate at 12.1%.


The king and the peace contest from

       There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried and submitted their work. The king looked at all the pictures. There were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

       One picture was of a calm lake, perfectly mirroring the peaceful, towering mountains all around it. Overhead was blue sky with fluffy, white clouds. It was the favorite of all who saw it. Truly, they thought, it was the perfect picture of peace.

       The other picture had mountains, too, but these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightening played. Down the side of one mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. A less peaceful picture would be difficult to imagine. But when the king looked closely, he saw beside the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest in perfect peace.

       Which picture would you have selected? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?

       “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all these things and still be calm in your heart. This is the real meaning of peace.”

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 war in and around Afghanistan and Pakistan, we pray…

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

That there may be an end to all the conflicts in Syria, the Congo, and throughout Africa, 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

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