Reflection for Saturday, January 1, 2000: The Octave Day of Christmas, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,and the infant lying in the manger...|When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. - Luke 2|At the dawn of the new Millennium, we wish to propose once more the message of hope which comes from the stable of Bethlehem: God loves all men and women on earth and gives them the hope of a new era, an era of peace....|In this Jubilee Year, when the Church will commit herself to prayer for peace through solemn intercessions, we turn with filial devotion to the Mother of Jesus. Invoking her as the Queen of Peace, we ask that she generously bestow on us the gifts of her maternal goodness and help the human race to become one family, in solidarity and peace. - John Paul II It is so wonderful that we who use the Gregorian calendar begin a new year, a new century, a new millennium, with all these themes. This is a day full of hope, for it is a day centered on Jesus. Mary is here, placing us with her son. The powerful words of John Paul II call us to be a new world, committed to peace because we are committed to the dignity of every human person.|This is the day on which we so often make resolutions. We resolve to turn the page on a new year, to make a fresh start in areas that are important to us. We have a sense that we have a chance to do what we haven't been able to do before. Our New Year's courage is genuine, if a bit bold. Our desire to make resolutions confronts our past failures to change. It represents our most fundamental belief that a new beginning is possible.|So much of the world does not use this calendar. For us who do, we know we have crossed an arbitrary line into a new epoch. We've faced ancient fears of the end of the world and the quite modern terror of unknown technological fragility and political violence on innocent victims. The world did not come to an end, but we are re-humbled by the limits of our abilities - to solve problems our own creativity creates, to guarantee our security, or to achieve a justice and peace that puts an end to the need of anyone to choose violence to seek retribution or get attention for their cause. Ours is a messy world. But on this day, we want to have hope, to mark a new beginning. - as individuals, and somehow to grow in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world.|Many of us have serious illnesses. Some of us are facing heart aches that are deep and ever on our minds. Many are struggling to make ends meet, financially. Some of us don't feel safe in our neighborhoods. Some of us have know personal violence and abuse. Many of us suffer from the economic injustices the Pope writes about. Many of us live in countries that are not at peace or where we are deprived of religious or political liberty. Most of us have far more than we need. Most of us are far from a sense of solidarity with others in need, that would make us agents of change for justice. There is a call, a consolation and a hope that is offered us all today.|Mary places us with Jesus today, as really as she gave him to us so long ago. Today each of us can celebrate his name - Jesus - for he saves us all from our sins. Today, Jesus stands in solidarity with us, opening the way, opening wide the door to new graces and new peace. Today we resolve to let his forgiving love renew us and free us to share his love, generously. We pray, that as we cross the threshold into this Jubilee year, that there might be greater reconciliation, justice and peace on this earth, and that it might begin in our hearts. Desiring this grace, can make for a very happy new year.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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