Solemnity of Mary, mother of God
Gospel: Luke 2:16-21

Happy new year!

New years are the best times to make resolutions and feel hopeful that blessings would abound.

In as much as we focus on the gifts that are to come, let us also realize that new year is a time of grace, a time for new beginnings, and a time of utmost realizations regarding the meaning of our lives.

For the new year, we focus on the giver of the blessings - God himself with whom Mary kept pondering the events in her heart; God who is object of praise, honor, and adoration of the shepherds.

We focus on Mary's heart as our inspiration because she embodies how to praise the Lord. Remember, to focus on the gift and not on the giver makes our blessings futile. The gifts are reflections of how much God our Father loves us.

Second, our blessings should mirror Christ's redemptive act. To where are we going to use the blessings? For ourselves or for others? Let us join Jesus, the Savior of the world who aims to lead us back to the Father.

Third, our blessings should mirror the love of the Holy Spirit. They should be immersed in a sea of love, mercy, generosity, and sacrifice. In Pope Benedict's message for the World Day of Peace, we are called to the most profound sense of responsibility to creation through global and intergenerational solidarity and contribute to the cause of lasting peace, "If you want peace, protect creation." This third factor points out to our responsibility to the well-being of others and not simply ourselves, the common good and not our own interest, and our responsibility to the people of the next generation.

Pray that we may receive the blessings of the new year with renewed hearts. Without God, we are nothing.