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Sunday, January 1, 2017 SOLEMNITY OF MARY-NEW YEARS DAY

Genesis, Chapter 3, verse 8-10:
8 When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.”

Before the fall both Adam and Eve were unafraid of being exposed to God and they were innocent in that they knew not that they were naked.  Adam states I heard the sound of you in the garden. We do not know what the sound of God is from the verse.  Was it the same sound as a man walking in the garden? Or was it the sound of a rushing wind? We do not know; but Adam heard God and he was afraid because he was naked. On the cross our Lord who always heard the Father was now utterly alone,…And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?' which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' and he was also naked nailed to a tree. Tradition states that our Lord’s cross rested on the skull of Adam in payment for the fall. Our Lord paid the ultimate price for our sins. Christ on the cross reversed the taking of the fruit and the eating by Adam and Eve and became the fruit of life.  Christ on the cross reversed the nakedness of Adam and Eve by being naked himself. Christ on the cross no longer heard the Father and He was afraid. The greatest fear is a world without the Father. Christ brought us at a great price to bring us back to the Father. We need not fear for God is now in us through the accomplishment of the Holy Spirit.  We must listen to His voice and follow Him.

The Law of Influence[1]

Eve had no leadership role; no title yet she had influence. Every one regardless of their roles is important and generates influence either positive or negative. Eve demonstrated the impact of negative influence. Although God commissioned Adam as her spiritual leader, Eve usurped the role of Adam, who followed his wife rather than God and together they led humankind into sin.

Solemnity of Mary

For Catholics, today is a holy day of obligation to honor Mary the Mother of God the second Eve:  who is the first example of courage. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  (Luke 1:30-31)

On my 2006 visit to Israel my wife and I visited and had Mass on the Mount of the Beatitudes.  I remember our Priests were a little miffed with the little sister who worked there.  She was upset with us because it was a warm day and some in our group had taken off their sweaters and their arms were exposed. She was focused on the rules, as Christ pointed out to the Pharisees who were focused on the outside of the cup being clean rather than the inside being clean.  Similarly the beatitudes of our Lord seek to not do away with the rules (10 commandments) but points at our inner dispositions.  I think Church of the Beatitudes which is an octagon (eight sided) best represents how me should seek to best conform our hearts and our dispositions to be more like that of Christ.  On the floor of the Church of the Beatitudes are eight mosaics with words in Latin.  They reflect the dispositions of our Lord which we are to emulate.

Charitas (a heart that burns with love of God and benevolence toward others)

Prvdentia (forethought or prudence. Those who are Prudent are far from indecisive, for their bold decisions bear no streaks of doubt. Prudence disposes us to have a true care and concern for the health and wellbeing of others)

Lavs Tibi Christi (Praise God in all that we do)

Temperantia (Temperance is a spirit of moderation and personal restraint; to keep ourselves in balance physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally)

Fides (Faith in God; to trust Him; to give yourself as He gave Himself)

Fortitvdo (fortitude and courage.  We must have the courage to allow Christ to increase in us)

Spes (Hope.  We must hope in the good news of Christ and trust ourselves in the church as we would a ship upon the waters)

Ivstitia (Justice.  Christ compels us to not ignore others, to understand others, not to rationalize and/or justify our questionable acts, do right even at risk of ourselves, and to pray for others.

 Today is the 8th day of Christmas in The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Legend has it the song was a lesson for Catholic’s persecuted in protestant England.  The eight Maids a milking are a sign for the eight beatitudes.  Today would be a good day to reflect on them.

New Year's Day

New Year's Day marks the start of a new year on the Gregorian calendar.  The Gregorian calendar was first introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and began to be used in Britain and its colonies in 1751. It is a solar calendar which maintains synchrony with the tropical year.  This holiday is celebrated every year on January 1st.

New Year's Day Facts

·         Baby New Year is the most common symbol associated with this holiday.  He is a toddler dressed in a diaper, hat, and sash bearing the numbers of the New Year.  The myth states that he matures into an old man during the course of the year.  On December 31st, he hands his hat and sash to the new Baby New Year.
·         In early Roman calendar New Year was celebrated on March 1st. The new celebration of New Year on January 1st started in Rome in 153 BC. The New Year was moved to January because it was a month when two newly elected Roman consuls began their tenure, which reflected the beginning of civil year.
·         In medieval Europe celebrations of New Year on January 1st were not always observed. Sometimes it was celebrated on Dec. 25th, March 1st and March 25th (The Feast of the Annunciation).
·         Gregorian calendar came into force in 1582, which replaced the Julian calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. After adoption of Gregorian calendar, January 1st was restored as New Year’s Day.
·         All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney

New Year's Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Visit Times Square and watch the ball drop in New York City to celebrate the New Year.
·         Sing Auld Lang Sine and kiss a loved one at the stroke of midnight.
·         Make new resolutions for the upcoming year and let go of what happened in the previous one.
·         Take advantage of New Year's Eve skiing at a local ski hill near you. Usually the hills are less crowded and offer discounts on this holiday.
·         New Year – means new trails to hike. Go hiking on a New Year’s Day to make a good start from day one and get motivated.



[1]John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.

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