Chinese Mass：Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.
Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)
After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering
Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)
Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church
[1st Reading – Num.6:22-27; Ps.66; 2nd Reading – Gal.4:4-7; Gospel – Lk.2:16-21]
“TREASURED AND PONDERED”
Although today’s gospel focuses on Mary as the Mother of God, we have other characters which can also help us to understand the message that the gospel writer is trying to convey. We are still in the nativity narratives and therefore we have the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We also have the shepherds who, as we are told, hurried away to Bethlehem. Amongst all these events, Mary has our attention because she was the one who “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart”. But what is it that she pondered about? Was it the visitation by the shepherds and/or the things that the shepherds were saying?
A closer look at the gospel should help us understand that the main theme of the gospel is not a person in particular, (if anyone this should be Jesus!) but what has been said, what was being said and therefore consequently what could be seen! Let’s study this a little further.
Firstly, it appears that all the verbs used in today’s gospel are connected with the action of hearing: “to hear” and therefore “to repeat” and “to say”. Secondly as a consequence to the action of hearing is then the action connected with seeing. It seems that the only reason that the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem was to repeat what they have been told about the baby, and those who heard were astonished at what the shepherds had to say. Then the shepherds returned back to where they came from glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen because it was exactly as they have been told. The gospel this week closes by telling us that after the circumcision, they named the baby, Jesus. The name is normally to be called out and heard.
Amongst those who were astonished we find Mary whose purpose in today’s gospel is that she “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart”. Mary treasured what had been said and what was being said about the baby lying in the manger i.e. not only what the shepherds were saying but also what she knew written in the scriptures. All these things that were said and written were also crowned by her own direct experience.
We are to notice how we are told that the shepherds after hearing the message from the angel “hurried away to…” i.e. a similar action that Mary herself took when she “hurried away“ to visit her cousin Elizabeth after she heard the message from the angel. Also, if we take each of these persons mentioned in today’s gospel separately, we are implicitly reminded who they are because of what was said about them in the scriptures: Mary – the virgin who found grace in the eyes of God and who was to give birth to a Child – called the Emmanuel – the God with us; Joseph – the Son of David; And the shepherds who before they were ready to say anything, they first “saw the child”, and it was then that they “repeated what they had been told about him”. They saw therefore that the word of God was true… that “everything was exactly as they had been told”.
We too know what has been said about God’s presence in our life! Do we treasure and ponder these things in our hearts?
“Lord, we hear and see many things about you. Sometimes we also feel your presence in our life. Give us the opportunity to treasure them and ponder them in our hearts. Thank you Lord!”
Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.
(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )