January is an interesting and challenging month. In the first part of January we continue to rejoice and celebrate Christ's coming to Bethlehem and in our hearts. We have the wonderful feasts of Mary, Mother of God, where we honor Mary's highest title. We follow the Magi to the crib as they bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on Epiphany. And, we reach the culmination of this season with the Baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. With a touch of sadness, we take down our decorations and enter the liturgical period known as Ordinary Time where we will devote ourselves to the mystery of Jesus, our Messiah, in its entirety as he walks the earth in the ordinary of his life. The name Ordinary Times come from the Latin word ordo which means numbered. So, we have number weeks in Ordinary time numbering to 34.
The new year offers us a time of growth and an opportunity to allow the dignity of Sunday, the Original Feast Day, to shine out in our lives in a new a more vibrant manner. And, besides the previously mentioned feasts, the month also includes: St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen (January 2), Holy Name of Jesus (January 3), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4), St. John Neumann (January 5), St. Raymond of Penafort (January 7), St. Anthony, abbot (January 17), St. Agnes (January 21), St. Vincent of Saragossa (January 23), St. Francis de Sales (January 24), the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), Sts. Timothy and Titus (January 26), St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28) and St. John Bosco (January 31).
The feasts of St. Andre Bessette (January 6), Sts. Fabian and Sebastian (January 20) and St. Angela Merici (January 27) are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
While the opening days of January may be cold and bleak, the domestic church still glows warm with the peace and joy of Christmas. We dedicate the New Year to Mary on the January 1st Solemnity honoring her as Mother of God; and on January 6th, the Solemnity of Epiphany, we rejoice with her, as her Son is adored by the three Wise Men.
In this liturgical season, the Church eagerly follows Our Lord as he gathered his apostles and announced his mission. At Cana’s wedding feast (The Second Luminous Mystery) Jesus performed his first public miracle at the request of his Mother, and his disciples saw his glory and believed in him.
We, his present-day disciples, pray for a like-faith as we contemplate the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb and the unique role of the Blessed Mother in the plan of salvation. January is the month of a new and exciting year where we make our resolutions for growth in our lives. Let us prayerfully consider those resolutions that will move us to be more like the image and likeness of Christ and his Blessed Mother. And, should we feel ourselves falter in our resolution, let us prayerfully ask for help in our time of wavering. In these times let us remember the words of our Blessed Mother and wholeheartedly obey her words of counsel: “Do whatever he tells you.”
New Year’s offers new opportunities, new ideas and new resolutions. It is a sign of regeneration and a time of hope. A young man was asked: “What is your New Year’s resolution? He responded: I have to walk with God. I have always walked alone and failed and been unhappy. This year I will not walk alone again. So, my number one priority this year is to walk with God. I know God will not let me fail again and I want the joy of God in my life.” Do you have a new Year’s resolution?
Wising you a Blessed, Happy and Holy new Year!