Kuwait City, 1.1.2014.
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
Nm 6:22-27; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
The New Year begins today within the Christmas liturgical cycle and it is only fitting that we commence it by praying for God’s blessings upon us, our families, the local Vicariate, the entire Church and the world, so that the joy, peace and inner light that we experience during these holy days may continue throughout the New Year. While seeking God’s blessings for us we also ask the Lord to bless all of mankind, for it is our desire that all men and women may come to know the mighty deeds of the Lord and give glory and praise to him with their lives.
The Lord instructed his servant Moses to tell Aaron and his sons, and therefore every believer, how to bless others. In his infinite wisdom God chose these simple men and taught them that they too are to bless their brothers and sisters. The Lord’s words were:
Say to Aaron and his sons: “This is how you are to bless the sons of Israel.
You shall say to them:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”
You are to bless. If there exists one single common vocation or mission for every person who believes in God, it is this: to bless others, to find respectful, kind and encouraging words to say to others, to search for the good in life, in mankind and to bless them all by recognizing that everything is a gift from God. Even though at times we may experience difficult situations in which we would rather complain, criticize and even curse others and life in general, as believers we opt for the good, simply because the Lord is good and everything that he has created is good and for our benefit. How wonderful it would be if we could say to each other, in our families, schools and workplaces: ‘you are a blessing from God to me!’
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. It is the Lord himself who has chosen the words of his blessing and they are truly wonderful. One can only imagine that the Lord’s face is full of light since he wants to make his face to shine upon you. This shining face also implies that his heart is full of light, that there is no darkness in him at all and therefore the dark moments of our lives will not last forever, but ultimately God’s light will prevail. The blessing of the Lord is therefore not found in riches, or power, or health, or success, or fortunes, but simply in the light. This is an interior light, a spiritual light, a light that enlightens the mind, a desirable light that one wishes to follow, for it opens the mind and heart to the reality of God’s pervasive light.
The great blessing of God that we are seeking today at the beginning of the year and every new day is the discovery of God himself, his presence in our lives and the world we live in, his light which illuminates our minds and hearts and transforms us into children of light. How true it is that when we encounter someone special, who is gentle, kind, humble, wise, unselfish, someone who has real faith in God and leads a good Christian life, this person can be a light for us. On the other hand those that are the opposite, only produce negative results and reactions in us. We are invited today to become a community that shares the light of God with others so that all may experience the goodness of the Lord.
The blessing of the Lord continues with the words: may the Lord be gracious to you. May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace. By being gracious to us the Lord is showing his love towards us and revealing his presence within us, which provides us with inner peace. Indeed, whatever life circumstances we may encounter, whether good or bad, happy or sad, we can be sure that the Lord will be gracious to us, and that he will be our light and our peace in every situation. None of us knows what awaits us this year or in our lives, but as believers in God we know that in the end God will be waiting for us!
As Christians living in a society comprised of various religious groups, you are especially called to give good witness and be examples to others of true followers of Jesus Christ our Lord, who said: let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Mt 5:16). By doing so, you become a blessing for others. As Catholics, we are especially called to adhere to the teachings of the Church and those of the Holy Father, who in his first message for the World Day of Peace this year mentions “I wish to offer to everyone, individuals and peoples, my best wishes for a life filled with joy and hope. In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced”. (Message 2014, n.1).
Rest assured, we are never alone in our task, for we can always count on the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who we celebrate today and who in this particular region of the world is venerated as Our Lady of Arabia. Mary was a blessing for Jesus and Joseph. Jesus left us his Mother so that we could have a mother in heaven, who always leads us to her Son Jesus, who remains forever the light of the world (Jn 12:46).
May the New Year therefore begin and end with the Lord’s blessings of peace and goodwill amongst all men and women. May new strides be made in working and cooperating together towards the building up of the community of faith in brotherly love and mutual respect. May our local Church, the society and world we live in become a better place for all. To all of you here present, my prayer for you today is that everyone may experience God’s light in their life and become a blessing for others! And blessed with this faith and knowledge remember this, you are to bless!