Fear Not the Year That Wasn’t; Make 2021 the Year That Is
One year ago today we were eagerly awaiting the start of the New Year. Today we’re anxious to see it pass. That’s the problem with the future – we don’t know what it will bring. Some good, some not so good.
2020 was not what we expected; and at times, it was downright depressing – with canceled projects and unfulfilled expectations. We’re glad to see 2020 end; and we look forward to a return to “normal” in the new year.
But as we start this new year, there are no guarantees of what will happen; what will be the new “normal.” As we start the new year we need to set our direction. Where do we start?
We need to focus on our relationship with God. God gives us the help and guidance we need. We need to be willing to accept that guidance?
Our gospel readings from last Sunday, Christmas, and today can give us guidance, strength and encouragement for our daily life – guidance that will help us see what is “important” in our life.
The gospel readings focus on Mary and Joseph and the issues and challenges they face as they start their life journey together.
In last Sunday’s gospel (the Annunciation) the angel Gabriel appears to Mary. Gabriel’s first words are, “Do not be afraid.” He tells her that she is to be the mother of God. This is impossible for Mary to understand. She is amazed, but she accepts the will of God.
Then in another gospel, an angel of God appears in a dream to Joseph. The angel’s first words are, “Do not be afraid.” The angel then tells Joseph that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary is with child – that she is to be the mother of God. This is impossible for Joseph to understand, but he accepts the will of God.
We usually think that life was easy for the Holy Family. But that’s far from accurate – their life was constantly challenging, but they always trusted in God.
In today’s gospel, Joseph and Mary bring the infant Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him at the temple. The gospel concludes with “when they had fulfilled the law of the Lord, they returned to their own town.
What we see in these gospel readings is that when Mary and Joseph became aware of what God wanted them to do, they followed the path that God prepared for them. The path was not easy, but they accepted it and trusted in God.
Listening to God
We want to trust in God, but how do we know what God is telling us? How do we know what God wants us to do? There’s not a direct line to heaven, but there is a way:
- Pray – spend some time listening to God speaking to our heart;
- Plan for what we want to do (and be prepared for unexpected challenges on the way);
- Celebrate our life journey with God as our shepherd.
A key phrase that we hear in these gospels is “Do not be afraid.” To me those are wonderful words that come from that trust in God that can help us with a conversion of mind, heart and life to what God is asking of me.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. We are a part of the Holy Family of God. As such we are sisters and brothers of all people. When they hurt, we hurt. As St. Paul tells us in today’s second reading, “Put on heartfelt compassion and patience, bearing with one another.”
This conversion is what helps overcome any fears that we may have. Many issues that may trouble us don’t seem important when we trust in God.
With this conversion, we can make…
Those of you who are familiar with “Peanuts” know that the mischievous Lucy always pulls the football away. Not so with God! God wants us to win!
Have a Blessed and Happy New Year!
Deacon Tom Corcoran
“You are the light of the world. Do not light a lamp then put it under a bushel basket…. your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:5-16
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