“So the shepherds scurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and saw the baby Jesus lying in the manger.” (Lk 2:16)
THIS is a truly hopeful and really consoling day—the very first day in the New Year 2009. Our said hope and consolation are anchored in the signal fact that the beginning of this New Year is lovingly entrusted to the care and love of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of God. There are no less than three distinctive and meaningful truths that we should remember well and faithfully live by:
One: May is the Mother of God because she conceived and gave birth to Christ, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, who is true God and true man (Lk 1:35). She is wherefore the most formidable woman in this whole wide world.
Two: May is our Mother too. Dying from the cross, Christ himself gave her to us as our mother too when he said as a last testament: “Behold, your Mother!” (Jn 18:27). She is therefore our loving and powerful patroness before God.
Three: Mary had no reservation at all in placing the Lord Jesus in a little manger, in a humble stable. She thus had no problem, no difficulty in giving birth to Jesus in a poor surrounding, together with Joseph as the Holy Family.
This is why with the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the Holy Family, we should not be afraid of our own family poverty that has been serious and pervasive in the country long since. This year 2009, however, can even be more trying and challenging for us all—as our national economy is in big crisis due to equally big graft and corrupt practices.
As the holy family was able to survive despite its poverty, and as we call on our Blessed Mother to help us also survive these difficult times, we too have to keep in mind the wise saying: “God helps those who help themselves.” For this reason, the help of God through the intercession of our Mother Mary, we have:
To observe industry contrary to the vice of laziness. This simply means that we have to sweat even by doing little income generating work—if not formal employment and professional task. As St. Paul clearly said: “Those who do not want to work, let them not also eat.” (II Thess. 3:10)
To engage in productivity contrary to the call of the consumerism. This only means that these must be something productive we can and should do even in our little backyards like planting vegetables, tomatoes and the like. Furthermore, we do not spend unless really needed, we do not buy what is not necessary.
To live in parsimony contrary to self-indulgence. As it is hard to earn every peso, we cannot but save every peso we have these hard times, it is sheer foolishness to throw our little money around to get things we do not need, to buy things we really cannot afford.
When we remember the three Gospel truths about Jesus in a manger and Mary with Joseph in the stable, and if we practice industry, productivity and parsimony, then we have good reason to greet one another “Happy New Year!”
New Year 2009