Today'sThoughts: This last day of the year we are treated to the mysticism of St. John. The profoundly familiar opening of his Gospel, "In the beginning was the Word..." It is not an opening story like in Matthew, Mark and Luke, it is a mystical reflection on God, creation and Jesus' entrance into the world. It is a reminder of where we have come from and the profound love of God we journey towards.
In the first reading John in his letter speaks to a community, a church, under persecution, struggling with the reality of life in a world made up of many different realities. Things appear to be coming to an end, but John reminds the community about what they know, what they have been taught, and about the relationship with God that they have entered into, so that no matter what happens they will remain faithful.
These readings speak to our realities this last day of the year. Things are coming to an end, perhaps not in the way John envisioned them but a calendar year is coming to an end. Over the past year we have seen many struggles, many signs that point to hate, disrespect, division, loss, tragedy, the absence of God and a hopelessness. However, John reminds us, as he did his own community, about what we know because we are friends of God. John reminds us of a new beginning, of by whom we have been created and the hope that needs to remain alive in our hearts.
We can encounter hate, disrespect, terrorist attacks, tragic losses, challenges to our faith, natural disasters but we know the love of God, we know that the Light that shines in the darkness of life, we know that that world often does not know God, but we do and we will live in the Light and bring it to the world today and always.
Some things to ponder as we prepare to welcome a New Year…
“For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.” (T.S. Eliot)
“Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.” (Thomas Merton)
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man [or woman] made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man [or woman] starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” (G.K. Chesterton)
“Faith is why I'm here today and faith is why I made it through.” (Jonathan Anthony Burkett)
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” (Thomas Merton)
“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
“Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things...as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value.” (Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ)
“As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their "right" place.” (Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen)
“Faith is not for overcoming obstacles; it is for experiencing them—all the way through!” (Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM)
Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it.” (Barbara Brown Taylor)
According to the Talmud, every blade of grass has its own angel bending over it, whispering, “Grow, grow.” (Barbara Brown Taylor)
If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” (Meister Eckhart
Have a great December 31st everyone and a Happy 2017!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...