Scripture Readings: Numbers 6: 22-27 Galatians 4: 4-7 Luke 2: 16-21
There is a tradition – that newly Ordained Priests give their First Blessing, after their Ordination Mass and after their first Mass.
As a newly Ordained Priest in 1975 – and – every New Year’s Day since 1975 — I have used the blessing from the Book of Numbers that we heard in our First Reading Today as the Closing Blessing of Mass:
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!
There is no doubt that we have been blessed by our God in so many ways over the past year and over the years.
How has God blessed you in days past?
How has God blessed you in those days of ease & those days of hardship?
How have you been a blessing to others in days past?
How have you been a blessing to others: to your family, your friends, your fellow students, your co-workers, your community, your Parish, the stranger in your midst – in word and deeds?
How have others blessed you or blessed others…as they lived out the Great Commandment to love God and to love others?
At the beginning of the Baptism Ritual – the Priest or Deacon – welcomes the person to be baptized by saying:
The Christian Community welcomes your with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our Savior by the sign of the cross.
The sign of the cross – is then made on the forehead of the person being baptized by the Priest/Deacon, parents and God-parents.
That same sign of the cross that we signed ourselves with as we entered church today….as we began Mass…and will repeat at the end of Mass.
The sign of the cross…a constant reminder of God’s love & blessings for us as person, family, and people.
As we end 2013 and look forward to 2014….we certainly remember events like the retirement of Pope Benedict; the selection of Pope Francis; the Boston Bombing; the unrest and wars around our world.
And we may wonder (on this World Day of Peace) if peace will ever be possible.
We may wonder what the year will bring and most importantly how we will change, how the world will change us, and how we will change the world.
Just maybe peace becomes more and more a reality at home and away from home:
- When we allow the blessings of God to transform our lives…
- When we allow the grace, the goodness of God to work thru us – as a blessing of others…
- When we allow the grace, the goodness of God to work thru others – and – bless us all with God’s peace.