New Year / Solemnity of Mary Mother of God: Mary, the Mother of Good Citizens
By Msgr Rodel M. Cajot
The first day of the year is dedicated by the Church to the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. By placing Mary at the beginning of the year, the Church invites us to spend each day of the year with Mary, who like any mother wants us her children to grow in imitation of her Son, Jesus Christ, the only source of fulness of life.
We heartily sing “Bagong Taon, Bagong Buhay” because we believe that the New Year presents itself like a blank page on which we like to write only beautiful and important things. We do not want that the next 365 days will be no better that the previous year. That is why several of us still have the habit of making resolutions, like paying more attention to one’s health by eating right and doing more exercise or being wiser in managing one’s finances. or so many others. These are good, our resolutions can be better, when we look and contemplate on the life of Mary and be taught by her example.
The first time we meet her in the Gospels is the Annunciation. Mary listened attentively to God and obeyed his will. Being children of Mary, we should resolve to listen attentively to God and obey his will. God’s word and will should be our guide. His will is expressed in the commandants and in the teachings of the Church, which exhorts us to do good, to choose truth, to work for peace, to love God, people, and country. Then, we should resolve not to listen to and be carried away by propagators and perpetrators of lies and falsehoods, advocates of violence and injustice, violators of law and order.
Then we find Mary, having travelled far from home, leaving her comfort zone, to reach out to her cousin Elizabeth who needed help. Being children of Mary, we should resolve to leave our comfort zones to assist our needy brothers and sisters out of genuine love and concern, with no strings attached. Then we should resolve not to imitate people, like politicians, who make a public show of giving dole outs to the poor because they need their votes, governments officials who use public funds to ingratiate people to them.
At the end of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, she uttered a beautiful prayer, the Magnificat, in praise of and thanksgiving for God’s mighty deeds. Being children of Mary, we should resolve to pray always because we acknowledge our nothingness before God, we recognize that everything is God’s gift. Then we should resolve not to choose leaders who do not fear God, and because they do not fear God, they have no respect for God’s gifts – no respect for life, for the environment.
In Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She is Theotokos, the God-bearer, who bore Christ the Savior and brought him to the world, to us. Being children of Mary, we should resolve to bring Jesus to others, by the way we live and treat others according to his teachings. We bring Jesus to our communities by being good citizens who love the country, who fulfil responsibly our civic duties, like electing good leaders, who pay religiously our taxes, who follow conscientiously the laws of the land. Then we should resolve not to choose leaders who are corrupt, who promote immorality in the country, who are violators of law with impunity, who use their public office to conceal their wrongdoings.
When it was time according to the law and custom. Mary brought the child Jesus to the temple. She wanted her Son to grow up observing the rites and practices of the faith. Being children of Mary, we should resolve to raise and educate our children, the younger generations, to the faith, so that they grow up and later become good Catholics and good citizens of our country, so that they learn to preserve our religious and Filipino cultural heritage for future generations. Then we should resolve not to choose leaders who promote the worship of wealth and power, and even of themselves as wielders of power, who cater and even foster cultural influence that are foreign to our Filipino values.
Finally, at the end of the Lord’s earthly life, we see Mary, full of compassion and courage, at the foot of the Cross. Even if she was powerless to change the situation, she stood her ground and remain ever present to her Son. Being children of Mary, we should resolve to be compassionate to our kapwa especially in the darkest moments of their lives. We may not have the power to reverse predicaments, but our constant presence will show our love and support. Then we should resolve not to choose leaders who care less for the plight of the people, yet care more for their coffers, who are absent when people are suffering and in need, yet present when they need the people’s vote, who have no love of country, who like Judases betray their own people, the very ones who put them in positions of power.
Mary, the Mother of God, always leads us to her son Jesus. If we take our cues from Mary, our Mother, with our New Year’s resolutions, we will be on the right path for this New Year, especially that this year is election year. Let our New Year’s resolutions be those of Mary’s children. She asks of us to be good Catholics and good Filipino citizens!
Being children of Mary, let us resolve: This election year 2022, “Huwag na tayong magpaloko.”