January 1, 2023!
By Fr. Joe Corel
There are many pieces to January 1 the Church asks us to remember and celebrate. Let’s briefly look at each piece.
First, today is the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother. A solemnity is the highest ranking of a celebration. It outranks a feast day. If Jesus is both God and Man; Son of God and Son of Man, then since He is God, Mary is Mother of God. In 1931, Pope Pius XI declared that Mary Mother of God would be celebrated throughout the Catholic Church. In 1960, Pope John XXIII removed the mention of the circumcision of Jesus and simply called January 1, the Octave of the Nativity. The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother was moved to January 1 in the 1969 revision of the Liturgical calendar.
Second, January 1 is the eighth day of the Octave of Christmas. It is good to remember that Jesus, The Savior of the world came into the world as the Father desired because of Mary’s free “yes” her fiat. It is good for us to go back to the story of how the birth of Jesus came about and then do what Mary did; when the Lord invites us to do something, say “yes.” It is important since He is the creator of us and knows what will make us happiest. So, we, like Mary, say “yes.”
Third, on January 1, the Church celebrates World Day of Peace. This was first celebrated on January 1, 1968. Paul VI established it, inspired by the encyclical Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII and his own encyclical Populorium Progressio. World Day of Peace often is an occasion on which popes make magisterial declarations on social doctrine. Paul VI and John Paul II used this day to address certain topics such as: The United Nations, human rights, women’s rights, labor unions, economic development, the right to life, international diplomacy, peace in the holy land, globalization and terrorism. In this year’s papal message from Pope Francis he shares with us that the world crises we face are interconnected and that we need to work together for all of humanity. The full text of his message can be found at Vatican.va/World day of Peace 2023.
Finally, the Church understands that many will be making “new year’s resolutions.” May our resolutions include worshipping the one true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, saying “yes” to God’s plans as Mary did, and doing all we can to bring peace to our community.
God’s many blessings upon you and your family in the new year!