Luke 2:16-21Whenever we think of the New Year, we always think about good luck, a time of blessings and abundance to the point of making it our annual ritual.
Perhaps this New Year, we may start with something different. How many of us have actually pondered things over like Mary? Before we can ask for blessings of abundance this coming year, can we ask the question, "Why is God giving me another year of life? What does he want me to do?"
Mary, in pondering all these things in her heart, as well as pondering the baby Jesus in her arms, had the opportunity to see everything as God sees, even the future till our time today. Mary is very much a part of our lives; thus, the title Mother of God and Mother of the Church. She saw the whole humanity on the road to heaven.
May we reflect also on the following:
First, reflect the future of humanityWhere is humanity going with all the violence and sin around us? Could we opt to start changing the course of the future from destruction to building up; from wounding to healing? The theme of the Pope Francis' message for the Prayer for the World Day of Peace centers on active non-violence as the way to peace. Peaceful non-violent action is not cowardice. It is actually working for real and authentic peace without resorting to killing or violence. Pope Francis said, "Violence is not the cure for our broken world. Countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migrations and enormous suffering, because vast amounts of resources are diverted to military ends and away from the everyday needs of young people, families experiencing hardship, the elderly, the infirm and the great majority of people in our world. At worst, it can lead to the death, physical and spiritual, of many people, if not of all."
Second, reflect on the meaning of our livesWhere are we actually going with all the things we are doing? Do you think we're living meaningful lives? Are we getting closer to God? Perhaps we can use Pope Francis' message as he quotes Pope Emeritus Benedict, " “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution’” (Pope Benedict XVI, Feb. 18, 2007) Our inclination to active non-violence depends on our orientation as sons and daughters of God and therefore not prone to doing violence against our neighbors.
Third, reflect on God himselfMary pondered all these things in her heart as she looked on Jesus, her Son. Let us also look on Jesus. Search through his heart and move from there. He wants to change the world for good; are we ready to join him? Are we ready to do God's will? Have we understood Jesus enough?
Pope Francis' New Year message puts it: "This is also a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives: to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities. It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers. It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost. To do so requires “the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process”. Ultimately, a life well-lived is a life lived in God.
These are the things we can do for the coming year; how exciting our lives would be because the year would not be filled with our schedules but with God's schedule; not our wills but God's will! It's an exciting year indeed!