(R. 1: Numbers 6: 22- 27; Psalm 67: 2- 3, 5, 6, 8 R. 2: Galatians 4: 4- 7; Gospel: Luke 2: 16- 21)
FR EMMANUEL INEDU OCHIGBO
THE BEST GPS EVER!
Happy New Year! Welcome on board Flight 2022!
When we make up our minds to set out on a journey, there are other decisions we need to make regarding the journey. We begin by deciding on the destination of the journey. Then we choose the route for the journey. We also need some accessories to help make the journey smooth, safe, and successful.
We are on a journey in this world, and the ultimate destination of this journey is the same as our origin, namely God. We came from God originally, and we are journeying back to God. On this journey, we may have some layovers or stopovers; ultimately, God is our destination. The next question concerns the route through which we can successfully get to God. The route for any journey is more important than the means. Ordinary, a person who uses a car as a means for a journey, should arrive much earlier than the one who uses a bicycle. However, if the one with the car uses the wrong route, he/she will never arrive at the destination, while if the one with a bicycle uses the right route, no matter how slow, he/she will arrive as long as such a person does not terminate the journey at any point.
The child that was born eight days ago, Jesus Christ, grew up and introduced himself, saying, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me”(John 14:6). He uses the definite article rather than the indefinite article in introducing himself. He did not introduce himself as “a” way, but as “the” way. So, he is not one out of many, he is the only route we need if we must get to the destination. That is why we usually conclude our prayers with the words, “through Christ our Lord.”
When we are on an unfamiliar route to an unfamiliar destination, we need some important car accessories for the journey. One of such is the GPS. Yesterday I had an appointment in East Lake, Chula Vista. When I got into my car, I intended to use the I-5 route, but the GPS suggested 805 route. I was going to insist on the I-5, but the GPS warned that by using 805, I was going to avoid a crash on the I-5. I wanted to stand my ground, but I remembered that the last time I insisted on my way, I got into trouble, so I obeyed the GPS, and I safely and timely got to my intended destination.
As we begin this New Year on our journey back to God, the Church is giving us the perfect GPS to get us successfully to our destination. The GPS here is the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is why we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God every first day of January. God is our destination, Jesus is the way/route, Mary is the GPS, and the Holy Spirit moderates the entire process by helping us in our discernment as we journey on.
There is a special gift that God has given to mothers regarding their children. They know their children quite well; they know the right button to press to bring about the right result. I do not doubt that you have your experiences regarding this. Permit me to share mine. I have never seen myself as a musician because I do not have formal/professional training in music. However, I try to compose songs. When I was back home in Nigeria, there were times that some choirs came to me requesting that I compose a song for them either for a competition or other special occasions. I usually politely refuse because I feel insecure about it since I have no formal training in music. But there were times that some choirs went behind me to speak to my mother. She would come to me and say, “Father, I heard the choir members would like you to compose a song for them.” And I would begin to complain, “Yes, but how did you get into this? You know I have no formal training in music, and I don’t want to be blamed if they don’t do well in the competition…” She would watch me say all I had, then gently, she would say, “I just want to let you know that you will compose the song,” and she would walk away without saying any other thing about it. She doesn’t say it like a suggestion or a plea, she gives the command like a piece of information, “You will compose the song.” Somehow, I found myself composing the song. And from my experience, those songs that had the intervention of my mom are rated among my best compositions.
If my mom, who is sinful like every ordinary human being has such powers, can you imagine the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, full of grace, with no disgrace in her? Remember the first miracle Jesus performed in the Bible (cf. John 2: 1-11). When Mary told Jesus that there was no wine, Jesus reacted like me, “Mom, how does this concern us? It is not yet my hour.” Like my mom, Mary didn’t say much, she just turned to the apostles and said, “Do whatever he tells you,” and so came the best wine ever.
That is how effective this GPS is; that is how effective the Blessed Virgin Mary is. I was at home with my GPS, but it already knew about the crash ahead on the I-5, and it prevented me from running into the crash. Mary is there to help us have a perfect navigation through Jesus, she could tell ahead that her son would perform the miracle even though it was not yet his hour. She is still as effective as ever. As the year begins, I challenge you to think about the different areas in your life that the wine has run out, pick up your Rosary and tell Mary about it, and she will ensure that another miracle is recorded for you. And so, let us conclude as we pray,
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.