Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The eighth day

Today we celebrate the octave, the 8th day of the Christmas season. Since the time of the early Christians the number eight has represented the beginning of a new creation. The old world was created in seven days. With Christ, and eighth  day, a new world is begun.

For four centuries today was celebrated as the feast of the circumcision,recalling the moment when Jesus was circumcised and given his name.

In 1970 Pope all the sixth decided to change the name of the day. In part, his decision was based on an examination of the 20th century. Looking back over the century he recognized it to be "the most homicidal century in the history of humanity."

And so today was named the solemnity of Mary, mother of God, with the additional title world day of peace. 

Today's first reading reminds us that true peace is not something of our own creation but is a gift from God.

The priestly Blessing:
 The LORD bless you and keep you! 
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! 
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! 

Like every gift, we have the choice to either accepted or rejected. While none of us would probably intentionally choose to reject the gift of peace, it is possible for us to rejected in a number of small ways. The most common way in which we reject this gift is lack of trust.

We say that we believe God loves us. We say that we believe God has a plan. But in the difficult moments of life we allow fear to overtake us.

On this first day of 2014, let us receive the gift of God's peace. Let us embrace it and hold it with two words surrender and trust. And in those cold winter moments when fear begins to creep into our bones, let us feel the light and warmth of God's face shining on us. And as St. Paul reminds us in the second reading let us with our whole heart call out to God: Abba, daddy.