How apt that the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God falls on Jan. 1st, the beginning of the secular New Year. The Gospel reading tells us that this day marks a new beginning for Jesus, and, indeed, for all of salvation history.

On this day, Christ was circumcised and “he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” What these two actions signify is that Jesus is now fully incorporated into Israel, God’s chosen people. And Mary was there, reflecting on these events and the knowledge that her Son was the Lord and had come to change the world forever.

Today, we celebrate Mary for a few reasons. Of course, primarily because through her “yes” to God, Jesus came into the world and therefore we became the adopted sons and daughters of God. But we also recognize her because she stayed close to Jesus throughout her life. First, she nurtured Him in her womb. Then, she raised Him and cared for him. At the Wedding Feast of Cana, her request that He turns water into wine kick-started His public ministry. And she was there at the end as well, as her only Son suffered on the Cross.

As we make resolutions for the New Year, Mary gives us something to strive for. Beyond the diet changes, exercise routines or new habits we want to form God asks that we draw near to Him, that we follow Him and stay with Him. As the Christmas Octave ends and the New Year begins, ask yourself how God is calling you to accompany Him. Through our adoption, He is our loving Father and is calling us to unity with Him in big things and small.

Sr. Tonia Borsellino is a Novice with the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She is learning what it means to be Christ’s beloved while rejoicing in all of God’s gifts, especially the Eucharist and Cheez-its.

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