Mary, Mother of God 2021

“It is open! congratulations” “Akemasite, omedetoo gozaimasu”. This is the expression with which the Japanese welcome the New Year. No resentment towards the one that has just passed. No excessive expectations of the one who is unforlding. No relief, no great expectations. It is not asked to be a normal year, nor does it have to be an historic one. What do you expect from 2021? are we asking each other in this season. The question is a strange one, as if a year had in itself a benevolent or malevolent character, with its reserve of good and bad moments spread out over the days. A year opens up, that’s all. It has no mission, it has no promises to keep, it is there waiting for us in the course of time.


So let’s not be too bad for 2020. Did we say “good riddance 2020”? May God forgive us! Have we asked 2021: “give us a break”? Forgive us again. And let’s offer to God this year that is opening up, that is opening up to us, without any moodiness, other than to mark for us a new beginning. Time is not external to us. We are in time. And since Jesus’s birth, God is also with us, in our history. The events of the world and of our own lives often seem to be beyond our control, but even if we do not have control over everything, like Mary in the Gospel, we have to receive them, in a way to read them, through our faith. Not to give them full meaning, but to welcome them openly in order to grasp their calls and see the life in genesis; also to fight against what contradicts the hope of Christmas.


This year, 2021 will also be under the sign of God’s blessing. God’s benevolent presence will be with us once again, today, and tomorrow and the days beyond. In Jesus, God-with-us, full of love and mercy. In the meanwhile, hunger, war, disease, and so many other evils will continue to afflict our humanity, to trouble us. Then, with all those in the midst of adversity, we will implore: “show us your face”.


A year is beginning, and with it, as the first reading invites us, we welcome God’s blessing. It is a gift, it is also a mission. The face of love and mercy that we have discovered, that has revealed itself to us, we have to present it to all those people who know it without really knowing it or who simply ignore it. Everything that covers humanity with a mask of ugliness must be removed so that the face of God may be known to his children.


We recognize that we had not a clue of what 2020 had in store for us. With that in mind, we humbly renounce to make any prediction about this year. For one thing, it will be what we make of it. We have a certain control over our daily lives, which we gladly express in our New Year’s resolutions. One thing is certain: there will be a good deal of the unexpected. Despite our best efforts, not everything will always go according to our strategies and plans. This can cause us anxiety, perplexity, and the feeling of losing control. On this point, Mary whom we are celebrating today is ahead of us. The choice of life comes to us in unexpected ways. Will we simply obey ?


We live under God’s blessing, but that does not prevent us from fearing the irruption of evil in our lives. We do everything we can, personally and collectively, to protect ourselves from it. Today, on this first of January, the Church raises its prayer for world peace. Peace is that fundamental good from which all others seem to flow. During the month of December, in the Order of Preachers, we prayed especially for Ukraine which has been the victim of wars and divisions. In a recent webinar, an important religious figure in that country, argued that the faith of the various traditions had cemented the nation, had given it cohesion, a capacity for resilience because all agreed on this fundamental value common to all religions, the dignity of the human person, a dignity that implies the freedom of individuals and the autonomy of peoples. As what, need we say it again? religions well understood are not the cause of war.


2021 is open. Let us not ask it to make us forget 2020 by being so good, so sweet, so prosperous, to the point that the year before will seem like a bad dream. It will be another year, as always, formative for the children of God and hopefully for the whole humanity. A challenging year, to keep our faith, our hope, even to strengthen it, with the certitude that our life is under God’s gaze. An open year to be welcome with an open heart. God will not break in: we are in it together, from the very start. To his blessing, we will respond, like Mary and all the people of God: “Blessed be God now and always! »