Homily...Blessings on Us

People ask priests to bless religious articles...rosaries, medals, statues, etc. We ask God's blessing on special occasion such as a wedding anniversary or on the beginning of a new year. The priest blesses the people at the end of Mass. But today God gives us a blessing in his own words: "May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord's face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."

How can we be changed, helped by this blessing? When the Lord says he will "keep us", he is saying he will protect us, keep us close. We are safe with him. When he let's his face shine upon us, he expresses his delight as he looks upon us. Look at the faces of Jesus, Mary & Joseph in a manger scene. Look at how they delight in one another, much as we delight in the face of a child or an infant, and they delight in us. Countenance means a "facial expression that offers approval." God looks at us with unconditional love and so we can be confident that he accepts us, sinners though we are.

"How we see God has an enormous impact on our lives. Our image of God is the lens through which we see ourselves, others & the world." (Matthew Kelly) So how does this blessing help us in our image of God? For that will determine how we relate to God throughout this year ahead of us.