The month of January gets it's name from the Roman God Janus, who is depicted with two faces, one facing the past and the other the future. Which is why January is a time for beginnings and endings.
In our Catholic tradition, the first day of the year is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. Far from being a mythical god, Mary does symbolize the past and future for us. She is both Virgin and Mother. Concepts that are radically opposed to one another. As virgin, she reminds of the purity of the past and the innocence of youth. The placid ground of hope and dreams.
Mary, Ever Virgin
Mary is also mother which conceptually is a futuristic role. A mother gives birth and nurtures a child for the future. Maternity is an enterprise of investing in generations to come. In her Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55), Mary proclaims that every generation will call her "blessed".
Mary, Mother of God
People are fascinated with the turn of the new year. We perhaps look forward to better things or are grateful for blessings of the past. We open champagne. We sing songs. We wish one another a "Happy New Year" (until someone finds out that the Gregorian calendar is a western Catholic construct that forces a rigid concept of time on an unsuspecting public).And as Catholics, we look to Mary, who faces the future with "be it done to me according to your word" and revels in the past that honors a God who is faithful to "his children forever".
Come join us for Mass today (5pm) or tomorrow (10am) to celebrate the past, future and greatest PRESENT ever...Christ.