Solemnity of Mary [b]

Engaging Faith | Tue, Dec 27, 2011

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

Lectionary reflections for January 1, 2012

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 1, 2012

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

January 1: New Year’s Day; Solemnity of Mary; World Day of Prayer for Peace
January 4: Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 5: Feast of St. John Neumann
January 8-14: National Migration Week: “Welcoming Christ in the Migrant”
January 8: The Epiphany of the Lord


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

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 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 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, 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’.”

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

Ø    Resources for liturgy and other info about National Migration Week: “Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice,” January 8-14 can be found at the site of the NCCB/USCC Office for Migration and Refugee Services at

Ø    To read Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day of Peace which is 1 January 2012, go to The theme is “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace.”

Ø    To read a Sojourner’s blog entitled “Catholic Bishops: Unemployment Benefits are Pro-Life” go to Find the Bishops’ statement at

“Crazy Facts”

Growing Poverty in the United States
The impact of increasing poverty and the diminished economic resources of the U.S. middle class became evident in late November. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that poverty among school-age children showed “a statistically significant increase” in one in five counties across the nation, and an analysis by The New York Times of Department of Agriculture data concluded that the number of students receiving subsidized school lunches rose to 21 million in the 2009-10 school year from 18 million in 2006-7, a 17 percent increase. According to the analysis, 11 states had four-year increases of 25 percent or more, “huge shifts in a vast program long characterized by incremental growth.”
'Dismal' prospects: 1 in 2 Americans are now poor or low income
About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That's up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure.


From the late Anthony DeMello SJ:
Last year on Spanish television I heard a story about this gentleman who knocks on his son’s door. "Jaime," he says, "wake up!" Jaime answers, "I don’t want to get up, Papa."
T    The father shouts, "Get up, you have to go to school." Jaime says, "I don’t want to go to school." "Why not?" asks the father. "Three reasons," says Jaime. First, because it’s so dull; second, the kids tease me; and third, I hate school.”    
And the father says, "Well, I am going to give you three reasons why you must go to school. First, because it is your duty; second, because you are forty-five years old, and third, because you are the headmaster."
Wake up! Wake up! You’ve grown up. You’re too big to be asleep. Wake up!

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 Somalia, the Congo, Egypt, 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, 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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