New Year’s Day – Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God
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How about all of us saying “happy new year”. It’s beautiful and unifies us. In the new year, we make resolutions. As a catholic priest, I heard quite a few funny ones. Someone would make a new year resolution say “From now on I’m not going to confess my husband’s sin” That is a good one. We don’t want to hear anybody else’s sins in the confession.
People would say “from now on, I will no longer contribute one or two pennies in the collection basket”. With inflation at 6.8 percent, It’s time to change .. ya..Little kids would promise: “From now on, we’re not gonna pray rosary and fall asleep” Do you sleep while praying rosary? I do. There’s a lot of new year resolutions that we could make, make fun of, and still feel happy about correcting and making those changes.Today is the first day of the new year. we’re celebrating this magnificent solemnity ‘Mary mother of God’
Why in the world would the church deliberately choose today to be the day to celebrate her beautiful vocation as mother of god? I believe it has to do with the three new things that our lord brought together with our blessed mother.
The first has to do with the new song – sing a new song to the lord. King David sings in psalm 98 – “Sing a new song to the lord, for he has done great things”. Does it sound like the hymn that our blessed mother sings – “My soul proclaims the greatness of the lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior” A new song here is not just a newly composed song made by anybody. This is an unrehearsed song coming straight out of the heart and countering the coming of God in the original context of psalm 98. It has to do with the newness that God brings, with new life that God shares, with his creation, with new things, amazing things, that he continually does to his people. Amazing, beautiful, and freshness that he shares with his people. That’s why king David and the rest of Israelite people wanted to sing this new song to him. Something beautiful he has done.
In exactly the same way, our blessed mother now with her consent to the invitation of God to be the mother, the vessel, a new era has entered into this old world. Where sin has already infected, when people long for the messiah, an old system of religious life may no longer be applicable, no longer saving the people . Our mother, my dear brothers and sister, with her yes, allows you and I could sing a new song, allow you and I could look up to God and say, wow, what a new and amazing thing you have done beyond anything we could imagine. Precisely for this reason, perhaps the church asked us to celebrate together this amazing establishment, accomplishment, or whatever you call it. Our blessed mother has been the first one who truly sings this beautiful song “My soul proclaims the greatness of the lord,He has done great things for me” The second new thing that we have to talk about coming from the book of revelation. A lamb sitting on the throne declared to the entire universal world: “I will make all things new”
“I will make all things new”. Isn’t that what our lord Jesus constantly talks about? when he talks about the new wine and new wine skin, isn’t he talking about the new kingdom of God the kingdom of God is at hand, isn’t that he’s talking about the new way of seeing, isn’t that he talking about the new way of being together,new way of uniting together in the person of our lord Jesus, the new way of coming together, heaven and earth united in him,through him and with him. You and I, we have a newness of life, a newness of heaven and earth. “I renew all things”. The new heaven and the new earth.
How could that be possible ? Well, the ancient world had long been looking for a messiah. They look for the sun, they look for the moon, they look for the political leaders, they look for anything and everything that couldn’t find it. The religious teachers thought that by using the blood of the animal to satisfy the wrath of God from on high, or using the blood of the animal could wipe away the sins of the people. None of that actually does so. They fought back the same pattern of life. Miserable, so sorrowful, pitiful, freedom is not there yet. but yet with Christ himself, my goodness what a change. What a newness in the way that we worship God we can call him now abba, father direct connection with God the father through him. We could pray to our father, we could ask for forgiveness. Now, we can actually taste God himself – the body and blood of the lord being offered on the altar now. He could sacramentally connect you and I, all together spiritually as one in the same family. Thanks to faith that we share, thanks to the God that we have, and thanks to the Christ, our savior. That is new, that is awesome, and new and amazingly new. My brothers and sister are from the book of revelation.
Finally, it has to do with Saint Paul, and the way he looks at the moment when you and I. Perhaps thanks to our parents, or personally we say yes to, new creature. Thanks to the water baptism and the power of the holy spirit we become new creature in christ Nicodemus asked how that could be possible. I’m a grown man. How could I enter into a mother’s womb again and therefore to be born anew. No, no, with Christ, everything will be renewed, with Christ and the water baptism, you and I are going to be made new again. If heaven and earth have already made new, if a new year of grace, God has earth into our world. Now you and I, we’re going to be direct receivers of that amazingly new, new world that we receive – new creature, New creature, new real relationship absolutely.
if we take a look at what it is. Our blessed mother, as a human creature made by God now being elevated to the level of the mother of God. Who could believe such a thing? What dignity does she have? what an honor and that is precisely you and I going to be received
Whoever listens to the word of the father and does it. He’s my brother and sister , whoever is being baptized in the blood of our lord in the holy spirit in the water of that holy baptism, we are now children of God, most high. We are now brothers and sisters. That’s why we could talk our language, we could share our culture, but we could never really break away from the coming bond of love, faith, and hope that we share a common faith, that we truly have been passed along.
That’s why we dare to say: here on this sacred land, 225 years ago established, the most beautiful magnificent gift for you and for me to belong to – saint joseph mission san jose. That’s the reason why we’re going to celebrate with our native people, where all those who arrive a little bit later, and for those who come now at this very moment .
Let’s be together, my brothers and sisters, once again on this very beautiful day celebrating these three new things: new world, new way God has shown himself, new heaven and a new earth and you and I were new. New, truly new creature in god, made anew by the water and blood of our lord, by the holy spirit. But the acceptance of our heavenly father and therefore we could look forward into this new year how could all of these new things that God have granted, truly translated in our life life of our community, life of our faith family isn’t that amazing to see if we could come more and more together, isn’t that awesome to see a new church community being built, isn’t that awesome to see what is ruined and falling apart could be renewed and made beautiful once again.
Let’s look forward to this turn in 2022. my brothers and sisters , not so much about i’m not gonna gossip, not just so much about i’m not gonna sleep during the rosary, not so much about i’m not gonna confess somebody else’s sins. Let’s talk about something far greater, and more beautiful, and more, more really life-saving, to our people. so we ask our blessed mother, we ask our blessed mother to help us all. Truly to ask almighty god, her son to really shower us with grace. so that we work together, collaborate, and also do the mission of Christ together. let’s make our mission, truly, a mission where the faith being shared, loved being embraced, and diversity cultural differences truly be honored. and respected. That’s the reason why we have this beautiful kick off of 225 year anniversary, our mother of god, and a new year all together.
So we pray for this beautiful community, and I pray for you, and please pray for me.I know my pace may not be your pace. I run quite fast. I know that I’m running fast. because I feel the urgency, the need, to really embrace this newness that Christ has offered. otherwise we’re going to gradually diminish, we’re gradually disappearing. We have seen that in our diocese. more than 550,000 people go to mass in the last 20 years, but now we drop down to 110,000 people on every given sunday. Our community suffers the same fate. So if we don’t embrace all these new things that the good lord offers, my brother and sister, we don’t have much of a chance. allow the good lord to renew all things and that’s a reason why I run fast. That’s the reason why I wanted to do it together with you. that’s the reason why we want to be coming back to what makes everything new – Christ himself and his mother and the faith of the church
天主之母節 – 新年快樂
為什麼教會選擇今天來慶祝天主之母──聖母瑪利亞聖召的日子？我相信是我們的主和我們有福的母親，一起帶來的三件新事物有關。 第一個與新歌有關——向主唱一首新歌。達味王在聖詠 98首中唱 “要向天主唱新歌，因為祂行了大事”。這不是與聖母所唱的讚主曲—“我的靈魂頌揚上主，我的心靈歡悅於我的救主，天主”一樣嗎？這首新歌不是一首由人創作的新曲。這是一首直接發自內心與聖詠98原文相對應，來自天上的歌曲。它與天主帶來的新事物，與天主分享的新生命，與祂的創造，令人驚奇的事物有關。天主不斷地為祂的子民創新。祂與祂的子民分享的驚人和美麗的創新。這就是為什麼達味王和以色列人向天主唱這首新歌。因為天主做了完美的事。 同樣地，聖母瑪利亞同意了天主的邀請，成為耶穌的母親，聖潔的器皿，於是新時代進入了舊世界。在這個罪惡汙染的舊世界，人們渴望救世主，舊的宗教體係已不再適用，再也不能拯救人民了。親愛的兄弟姐妹，有了我們的母親，聖母瑪利亞的同意，你和我終於可以唱出一首新歌。讓你我都可以仰望上主說：「上主，你所做的真是超出想像的新奇和美妙。」正是如此，教會要求我們一起來慶祝這個驚人的成就與恩寵。我們有福的母親是第一個真正唱出這首美麗的歌曲“我的靈魂頌揚上主，全能者給我做了奇事”。 第二個新事物來自默示錄。坐在寶座上的羔羊向宇宙宣告：“看，我已更新了一切。”看，我已更新了一切。這不是我們的耶穌經常談論的嗎？當他談新酒和新皮囊，他談天國？天主的國就在眼前，他談新的觀點，他談新的相處方式，團結在主耶穌基督相處的新方式，以新的方式結合在一起，通過他，並與他一起。你和我，我們有了新生命，新天地，新天新地。
最後，也許要感謝我們的父母，或者感謝我們自己渴望成為一個全新的受造物。我們受洗了。藉著水及聖神的洗禮使我們在基督內重生成為新造的人。尼苛德摩問：「這怎麼可能？人已年老，怎樣能重生呢？難道他還能再入母腹而重生嗎？」不，不，有了基督，一切都會更新，有了基督和水的洗禮，你我都將重新煥然一新。如果天地已經更新了，在這新年的恩典中，天主已將地球帶入了我們的世界。現在你和我，我們將成為這個新世界的接收者 – 藉著他獲得新生命和全新的關係。看看我們有福的母親，他是天主創造的。現在被提升成為天主之母。誰能相信這樣的事情呢？她現在是多麼的尊嚴？多麼榮幸，這正是你和我將要領受的。
那聽了父親的話而去做的，是我的兄弟姐妹。誰在基督的血，聖神的水裡受洗的，他就是至高無上天主的兒女，我們的兄弟姐妹。這就是為什麼我們有自己的語言，有自己的文化。但更重要的是我們接受同樣的傳承，有相同的信仰，在信、望、愛中合而為一。這就是為什麼我們敢說：225年前，在這聖地上，由原住民和傳教士建立的St. Joseph Mission San Jose 教堂，是我們領受到最美麗的禮物。這就是為什麼今天，我們會同原住民、早期移民，以及新移民，共聚一堂來慶祝新年的原因。
親愛的兄弟姐妹們，讓我們用這三個新事物，來慶祝這麼美好的日子。歡唱新歌，接受新天新地，成就新人。新的，真正的新人，由我們主耶穌的水，血，和聖神重生的靈魂。我們請求天父的接納，使我們在這新的一年，藉著天主所賜新事物，來聖化我們的生命，來聖化我們的家庭，來聖化我們的團體。 看我們能不能更緊密的結合在一起，這不是很神奇嗎？看我們的教會不停的成長，建設，這不是很棒嗎？看毀壞和分離的東西，可以更新，再次變得美麗，這是不是很棒嗎？讓我們一起期待 2022 這一年。兄弟姐妹們，與其說我不再傳閒言閒語，不如說我不會在念玫瑰經的時候睡覺，與其說我不再為別人的罪辦告解，讓我們談談那更偉大、更美麗、更能真正拯救生命的事情。我們祈求真福的母親，為我們祈求全能的天主和她的聖子耶穌，給我們更多的恩寵。使我們同心協力，共同完成基督的使命。讓我們這個傳教的團體，能真正成為一個共享信仰，互相關愛，能夠包容、尊敬，文化差異的傳教團體。
我們祈求慶祝225 週年紀念日有一個美麗的開始，慶祝天主之母，慶祝一個新的一年。讓我們為這個美麗的堂區祈禱！我為你祈禱，也請你為我祈禱。我知道我的步伐和你們不一樣。我跑得很快。我知道我跑得很快。因為我有一個迫切的需要，去擁抱基督恩賜的新事物。不這樣做，我們將逐漸減少，我們將逐漸消失。我們的教區 20 年前每星期有超過 550,000 人參加彌撒，但現在減少到110,000 人。我們的堂區也遭受同樣的命運。所以，如果我們不接受並利用上主提供的這些禮物，兄弟姐妹們，我們就沒有多少機會了。配合主更新萬物，這就是我跑得快的原因。這就是我想和你一起做的原因。我們要回歸到這更新力量的源頭：基督自己、祂的母親和教會的信仰。