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Thursday, January 1, 2004

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Mary, Mother of God
(World Day of Prayer
for Peace and Justice)

Numbers 6:22-27
Galatians 4:4-7
Psalm 67
Luke 2:16-21

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the year of hope

"They went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger." —Luke 2:16

At the end of what may be the major document of the twentieth century, Vatican II's teaching on the Church, Mary is proclaimed as a sure sign of hope (Lumen Gentium, 68). We pray: "Hail, holy queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in the valley of tears." Yes, many of us are in the valleys and are experiencing the banishment due to our sins. Of course, Jesus is our only Hope. But the Lord has chosen Mary to be part of the way He gives us hope. Mary shows to us "the blessed Fruit of her womb, Jesus."

Today, once again, the Pope has called us to begin the year by praying for peace. Mary also has called us for decades to pray for peace. Nonetheless, we may feel like saying: "Too long did I live among those who hated peace. When I spoke of peace, they were for war" (Ps 120:6-7). Is there any hope for peace? Mary points to Jesus, our only Hope, and she commands us: "Do whatever He tells you" (Jn 2:5).

Is there any hope to stop abortion, starvation, racism, and other common atrocities? By faith, at the side of Mary, look to Jesus, our only Hope and the only Hope we need.

Prayer:  Father, with my eyes fixed on Your Son Jesus, give me a new year characterized by an invincible hope.

Promise:  "When the designated time had come, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the law, to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it, so that we might receive our status as adopted sons." —Gal 4:4-5

Praise:  Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, brought the Prince of Peace into the world.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003