Dear brothers and sisters,
The first day of the New Year in the liturgy of the Church we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. We bless God for Mary, who bore for us the Child she named Jesus, the Savior. On this special day at the opening of the New Year in the first reading from the book of Numbers we receive best wishes from God for New Year.
When God spoke to Moses and said: "This is how you are to bless the sons of Israel". God starts this New Year with blessings for us. For this New Year we need to remember
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.
The third blessing concludes with the wish granting us peace. The Church listens very carefully to this voice of God today on the first day in New Year and celebrates: World Day of Peace. Pope Francis in message for the celebration of 53rd Word Day of Peace reminds us:
"Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family. As a human attitude, our hope for peace is marked by an existential tension that makes it possible for the present, with all its difficulties, to be “lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey”. Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable".
Speaking about hope, we can observe the life of Mary, Mother of God, she teaches us how we can improve our Christian hope. Christian hope is what we should look for every day because hope is not only for this present world but much more for the future. We need remember that especially on this day, when we look back at the end of the year at what has happened throughout the year . The New Year which is coming needs to be full of hope. Mary Mother of God and our mother teaches us to follow the voice of God and that is the best way to build up hope in our life.
"The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity".
The Church teaches us that God has placed happiness in the heart of every man. At this point we need ask ourselves. Has this happiness been truly placed in my heart? Or maybe I think in different way: I search for that special something which I am unable to find, This situation is explained in the beautiful words of St. Augustine:
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
Yes, God hast made us for Himself. We are created by God and all our life we are looking for God. This New Year which starts with God, Jesus Christ and with His Mother, Mary Mother of God, can be a good opportunity to be closer to God, dedicate our time, our talents and our needs to God. Because only in God can our heart find rest. Let me finish with another very popular and beautiful quotation from St. Augustine.
Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold,
Thou was within and I without, and there I sought Thee.
Thou was with me when I was not with Thee.
Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness.
Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispel my blindness.
Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace.
For Thyself Thou hast made us,
And restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease.
Late have I loved Thee, Thou Beauty ever old and ever new.