Homily for January 1, 2014

Wisdom's Path by Jan Richardson

And Mary kept all these things, 
   reflecting on them in her heart…

Homily for January 1
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart…

And not just Mary, but all mothers do this:
they store up memories of their children:
to keep them, hold on to them, to treasure them.

And not just mothers, but all of us do this.
We all keep memories in our hearts, continuing to reflect on them
as months and years and decades pass by.

I’m wondering on this New Year’s Day what memories of 2013
are you and I keeping, storing, holding in our hearts?

Was 2013 a good year or a hard year? or both?   
A happy year or a sad year? or both?
A healthy year or a year of sickness? or some of each? 
A year of gain or a year of loss?  A year of pain or a year of peace?
Or all of the above?
Did the year just past seem to fly by or did it creep at a snail’s pace?

My physical heart has only four chambers
but my soul’s heart has many more than four.
What memories of 2013 are we holding in our hearts, yours and mine?
Am I holding on to some hurtful memories alongside the happier ones?
Am I clinging to some resentments and grudges?
a loss?  some self-pity?

Or have I let my heart be refreshed
with forgiveness, healing, and acceptance?
with the comfort of consoling memories?

In the past year did my heart enlarge to accommodate
what came my way? peace and pain alike?
Did my heart expand to welcome joy when it came
and God’s gentle touch upon my hurt and loss?
Did I turn to the Lord for his strength when I was weak?           
for his counsel in my doubt;  for his wisdom in my confusion?
for his companionship in my loneliness?

Did I stall or isolate in my sadness
or open my heart to moving on towards consolation and peace?
With the passing of time,  Mary held in her heart
not only joyful memories of  a newborn
and shepherds and angels, of a star and the magi -
but she made room, too,  for the painful memories
of his suffering and death and loss.

And so it is with us, too.
Our hearts are the memory banks of all that has shaped us
and made us the persons we have become and are becoming.
This New Year’s day might be a good time for us
to walk through the chambers of our hearts and,
with the Lord’s help,
to let go what might better be left behind as a new year begins.
For sure, the year ahead
will find its own share of blessings and sorrows filling our hearts
but with the Lord’s help
we can come to accept and even treasure them all
and find his healing peace in good times and hard times alike.

Every time we come to the Lord’s Table
we keep the memory of Christ’s incarnation, his birth
and we keep the memory of his suffering, death and resurrection.

We hold the death of the Lord, deep in our hearts;
living, now we remain with Jesus the Christ…

We remember the One who suffered for us and who fills our hearts
with the joy of his presence in the bread and cup of the Eucharist.
Pray that in the New Year we, like Mary,
will keep and treasure our memories
of burdens carried and  blessings received
and in them, and in Christ, find our peace.

Although we usually sing this song in Holy Week and the Easter season, it has an appropriateness for today's gospel and it was our Communion song this morning...

Now We Remain by Hangad Music Ministry on Grooveshark


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