Luke 2: 16-21

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over.

“Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

When the eighth day arrived, the day of circumcision, the child was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.

Gospel Reflection

Today we begin a new year according to the secular calendar. And even though much of the rest of the world has begun “de-decking” the Christmas decorations, the Church continues to celebrate the Christmas season. The Gospel for this Feast of Mary, Mother of God is the account of the shepherds traveling to Bethlehem to give homage to the Child Jesus.

How did the shepherds know where to find the child Jesus? In those days, there was no GPS system to guide them on their trip. However the shepherds did have a brilliant star to lead them to Jesus. After worshipping the Child Jesus, the shepherds departed and spread “the good news that a child had been born.” Interestingly enough, no one questioned the shepherds’ announcement; rather, everyone who heard the announcement were filled with joy and amazement.

One of the most profound statements in this Gospel is: “Mary kept all these things in her heart and pondered them.” What is in your heart that you ponder? It may be an event, occasion, or encounter that brought you great joy. Or perhaps you may reflect on a difficulty or challenge in your life. In today’s fast-paced world, we need to choose to deliberately ponder and reflect on our lives. Pondering is not always easy. When we are hurting or feeling alone, the last thing we may want to do is to reflect on our pain or loss. It may be more comfortable to simply numb the pain. Yet God invites us to ponder our gifts, our joys, and our sorrows.

At various times Mary experienced the gamut of emotions in her life: from great joy to confusion as well as great sorrow or loss. Mary deeply experienced the joys and sorrows that life holds. Pray to Mary; her presence and strength may gift us with a peace that will calm our hearts and our minds.