Sunday, January 1, 2017

What Are We Keeping, Pondering in Our Hearts?

Christmas - Mary Mother of God - Yr A (2017)
Ss. Peter & Paul/Danville

“She kept all these things…reflecting on them in her heart.”

So many things.  The surprise message of the Angel – Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? And when you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the hand of God?  She knew – but she didn’t go around bragging about it – and, apparently, she didn’t worry about it, though at the beginning she was troubled by it a bit.  What did she do with what she knew?  She kept it – pondered on it – reflected on it in her heart.  

So many things she kept and pondered… The visit of the angel.  The visit of the shepherds.  Strange kings coming from a faraway land.  Giving birth in the cold.  Plans that didn’t work out the way she’d envisioned.  So many things…


I wonder – what are we pondering on this feast day of the Mother of God.  Our plans for celebrating the New Year?  Our resolutions – how many times we’re going to make it to the gym – what new habits we’re planning to form or old habits we’re hoping to set aside.  Are we consumed with worry over things that aren’t turning out the way we’d planned or hoped?  Consumed with decisions that need to be made – or decisions we feel like we have to make whether we really do or not?  Are we wrapped up in trying to figure out what will make us happy – or obsessing over how to grasp at the things we think will make us happy even when we sometimes realize that they really only satisfy our appetites and quickly leave us feeling desperate, alone, empty, and anything but truly happy…

Are we focused on the right things?  Are we stuck in our heads – like the Grinch we talked about a week ago on Christmas – and unable to get to our hearts where God lives and works and moves and calls us to Himself and the only true and lasting happiness and joy we can find in this world.

Our heads can’t do the heavy lifting for us…the miracles of life happen in our hearts…Where are our heads as we begin this New Year – and even more importantly, where are our hearts?

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


Today we celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of God.  We honor the Blessed Mother as the perfect example of what a life lived full of grace looks like – we acknowledge her as an example, a model and a mentor – and we remember that she is Our Mother every bit as much as she was the Mother of the Savior, because Jesus gave us to her and gave her to us.  And so, while we look to her for examples of living, we beg her also to pray for and with us, knowing that with a Mother’s love she keeps us, too, in her heart.  

But this feast is as much about Jesus as it is about the Blessed Mother.  Because we don’t celebrate Mary, the Mother of Jesus – we celebrate Mary, the Mother of God.  A God who loves us enough to come to us in the flesh, to break into our worlds in a way we can see, and hear, and touch, and experience.  And not just that first Christmas…but every day…  And that’s what we, like Mary, should be noticing with our heads and pondering with our hearts.  The invitation here is clear – to adjust our focus away from what we want from the world around us, and move our hearts from worry and fear to pondering what God has done and is doing.

The invitation this New Year – the call to conversion – it is clear.  But there’s more than that.  There’s also good news.  Not merely something to add to our things to do list – more than just another way that we need to grow and stretch to become a better disciple.  And the good news is this – the call to conversion, to move our focus and change our attention, and transform worry and fear into pondering and reflecting – the good news is this invitation points us toward a good and loving God, because the God who has done and is doing whatever it is He’s doing in our lives is a God whose work is always a work of love – a work for our good, for our freedom, for our joy, peace and happiness.


So many things – so many things that can capture our attention and press our hearts to obsession and fear and worry.  So many things that seem too big or too scary to try to contemplate or ponder.  So many things – too – that are different, brighter, bolder – so many things that God is doing in and around our lives to break into our hearts, set us free, and bring us hope and happiness…

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us – pray that we may point our minds toward Your Son and all the things He is saying and doing in our lives…and like you, to keep all these things, pondering them in our hearts.  Mary – Mother of God – pray for us…

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