Daily Reflection
January 1st, 2004
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
The Naming of Jesus - The Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus
World Day of Peace

Message of John Paul II on World Day of Peace

Numbers 6:22-27
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:16-21

It is a week after Christmas and we turn the page on a new calendar year. The readings invite us to re-collect the blessings of the past week, as we look forward to a new year.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

It is good for us today to look back and remember the build up to Christmas and to slowly recall Christmas day and the past week. What were the graces? What was our Lord offering me in the encounters, interactions, feelings, emotions of this week? What lessons lie there? What calls to conversion? What promises of hope and new life do I want to nurture before they wither and die? Was I like busy Bethlehem - with no room for him in my heart? Or did he actually come into the most unexpected and barn-like places of my life? What special gifts came, for which I want to remain grateful and keep close to my heart, for some difficult time ahead? In all of what I did, took part in, celebrated, what was there that raised my awareness and solidarity with the poor around me or in the world? What did I do that benefitted the poor? Are there apologies I have to make or people I have to forgive?

We honor Mary as the "Mother of God." It is good for us to let this young woman, so full of grace, so open to her vocation, so ready to be servant, be our guide these days. She participated in God's plan of salvation so dramatically that it is sometimes difficult for us to recall that we, too, are called to play our role in God's plan of salvation. How has God's messenger called me to make a difference in this world, to play my part in the coming of God's Reign? If I haven't been listening, I can say on this day, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening now! What is it that you want me to do, to be? How can I love more, be more generous, more merciful, be more attentive to the cry of the poor?"

Finally, this is a special day on which we pray for peace in our world. It is well worth taking the time to read Pope John Paul II's message for this day. All of us so long for there to be peace in this world. The challenge is to let is begin with me, in my heart, in my anger, with my discouragement or resentment.

So, as we treasure all of these things in our hearts, what kinds of "New Year Resolutions" should we make? How can we avoid the passing ones that won't last even a few weeks? What if we make New Year's Commitments? What if we planned out what things we need to re-form in our lives and then decided how we can begin practicing that new behavior? What if we asked a friend or loved one to help me with new habits? What if we just started with being more grateful, by beginning each day, when we put on our slippers or get in the shower, or put on our shoes, with a brief moment of thanking God for the people who will be in our life this day? What if every Saturday morning, we did a brief "examination of conscience" on how loving I was this past week, or how tender or affirming or compassionate we were? What if I asked how conscious I was of those who have so much less than I do? This kind of weekly examination can help with a weekly renewal of my commitments.

Today is a day to remember, at the beginning of a new year, that his passionate desire to come into my heart continues today and every day of my life. Looking back, we can move forward, praising the name of Jesus who invites us to be servants of his own mission this new year.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Let Your Friends Know About This Reflection By Sending Them An E-mail


Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook