Today in all our lives is new years day. In the calendar of the church since Vatican II, January 1 has come to be celebrated under a few different names. In the history of the church, it was the feast of the Motherhood of Mary, only later being changed to the feast of the Circumcision, or of the Circumcision and name of Jesus. January 1st was even called the world day of peace for a few years. Cradled between Christmas and Epiphany, New Years day gets kind of lost in all of the Christmas celebration. The gospel is after all a repeat from the Christmas Midnight Mass without the first verse and with the addition of the circumcision and naming of Jesus. It is significant that the parents of Jesus followed the covenant, and that Jesus as a human shed his first blood in the course of his life. Even in infancy he is obedient to his Father’s will.
At the same time, celebrating the Motherhood of Mary is not foreign to Christmas since it was by her acquiescence that Jesus came into the world. The readings are rich and hopeful, with Paul reminding us of Christ’s mission, His birth, life, death and resurrection. The first reading from Numbers contains the Aaronic blessing adapted and used from that time even to today:
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!