January 1, 2021
by Eileen Wirth
Creighton University's Journalism - Emerita
click here for photo and information about the writer

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Lectionary: 18

Numbers 6:22-27
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:16-21

Celebrating Christmas home page

Pope Francis on this day- 2014 & 2015 & 2019

Homily of Pope Francis for January 1st, 2020:
The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

Making New Year's Resolutions


God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to transom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” - Galatians

When strangers used to see me with my son from India and my daughter from Thailand, they would sometimes ask who their “real” mothers were.  I would say “me,” and quickly move on, hoping the kids wouldn’t notice. But occasionally someone would even try to argue the point.

I worried about the impact these rude encounters might have on my kids. Would they wonder if I was really their mother? Would they feel stigmatized because they were adopted? I suspect many adoptive parents harbor such fears even when the adoptive relationship isn’t as obvious as it was in our case.

Then I heard a homily discussing today’s beautiful passage from Galatians that helped me resolve these fears. The priest explained that when we “received adoption as sons,” we became  God’s “real” children.

“As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out “Abba Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir through God.”

In other words, adoption makes us God’s “real” children just as it made me the “real” mother of my children – not their birth mother (a status that I deeply honor) but the “real” mom who loved them as deeply and permanently as any other parent. Who cares what we all look like or how we came together? The important this is that we are family just as all of us “adopted” children are members of God’s family on earth.

Being an adoptive parent helps me understand that God never stops loving us even when we sin. God will never abandon us, his adopted children, any more than I could ever abandon my kids.

Knowing this gives me great confidence in the strength of our relationship with God. As one of my favorite St. Louis Jesuit hymns, “Though the Mountains May Fall,” reminds us, no matter what happens, “he will not abandon you.”

So rejoice in our adoption! It is holy and beautiful. Relationships are real. How they were formed is incidental.  

Happy new year!

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