Wishing all our parishioners a happy and peaceful 2012

How do we, as a community of faith, look ahead to the new year? What's the Christian alternative to drowning sorrows on New Year's Eve? The readings and prayers for Mass today offer us the example of Mary. We find Mary in the Gospel - the baby is born, the shepherds have left, the fuss is over, for a while. Now, in a quiet moment, Mary wonders what the future will bring. Who is this child, my son, to whom I've given birth? What has God in mind for him and for me?

Mary doesn't panic. Why does Mary stay calm and hold it together in the face of the unknown? Mary hands it over to God's hands. I will put my trust in God, she says, and he will see me through it all. Mary makes her own the words of first reading from the Old Testament -

May the Lord bless me and keep me.
May the Lord let his face shine on me and be gracious to me.
May the Lord uncover his face to me and bring me peace.

Our parish prayer, this New Year's Eve, is that God may grant us all a deeper sense of faith in the year ahead: faith to see God's guiding hand, faith to trust that God is there with us and for us.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference, Amen.

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