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Message from the Parish

1st January 2023 ~ The Solemnity of Mary Year A

 

A New Year Blessing!

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

 

Happy New Year….or, rather, “Blessed” New Year. There is a difference between being “happy” and “blessed”, and we can confuse them. Being “happy” is a personal experience. It is that internal experience of being glad or joyful. I know this experience. Its opposite is the experience of feeling sad or disheartened.

 

Being “blessed”, on the other hand, is something quite different. It is a gift from outside me, from above. It is that realisation that no matter what happens in my life I am blessed, or “graced” with the presence of the ONE who loves and accompanies me in every situation of happiness and sadness that will unfold in this new year. This conviction of “blessedness” is not dependent on what I personally feel or experience. It is a divine given and it is confirmed through my daily encounters with others and the natural world.

 

The beauty of the world around me—even in the face of environmental damage and global warming, the effects of which we are still experiencing along the Murray River—reminds me of the “blessedness” that surrounds me. I become reassured of this divine “blessedness” every time I gather to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist. The bread and wine, gifts of the planet, are sacraments of this divine blessedness that become the presence of the Risen Christ.

 

This Sunday we pray for world peace. Peace is the experience of being blessed. To pray for peace is to pray that everything on this Earth, human beings and God’s creation, will know its blessedness. This is the theme of today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers.  The priest, Aaron, Moses’ brother, is urged to pray this prayer over the Israelites. It has become known as the “Aaronic prayer” and it is our prayer for the New Year:

 

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Num 6.24-26)

 

Over this new year, may God’s face shine upon you. May you know your blessedness.

 

Blessed New Year!

Your brother,

Michael

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