Happy New Year: Can We Really Begin Again? The Answer is Yes, Through Jesus
Through the Incarnation, Saving Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus we are capacitated to live our lives differently. When we do, Jesus can make all things new!
The promise "I make all things new" addresses the heart cry of the entire human race. It answers our deepest longing. As the photos pour in from all over the world showing New Years celebrations, what is absolutely clear is that we all hope that we can begin again! We can.
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - 'For a son of God each day should be an opportunity for renewal, knowing for sure that with the help of grace he will reach the end of the road, which is Love. That is why if you begin and begin again, you are doing well. If you have a will to win, if you struggle, then with God's help you will conquer. There will be no difficulty you cannot overcome.' (St. Jose Maria Escriva, The Forge, 344)
The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." (Jesus to St John, recorded in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation 21:5).
These words from the Book of Revelation or the "Apocalypse" hold out the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all men and women in every Nation under the sun. They were spoken to the beloved disciple John on the Island of Patmos when he received a vision of the new heaven and new earth where the completion of the Redemption of Jesus Christ will be fully manifested.The quote from a contemporary saint, St Escriva, helps us to understand their daily promise and application.
The promise "I make all things new" addresses the heart cry of the entire human race. It answers our deepest longing. As the photos pour in from all over the world showing New Years celebrations, what is absolutely clear is that we all hope that we can begin again! At this time of the year, when we end one year and begin a new one, we seem compelled to make resolutions to change our lives. How deeply we want to begin again, to be made new. The Christian claim is that there is Good News! We can!
Those words, "Behold I make all things new" took on new meaning for me several years ago when I watched a powerful scene in the Mel Gibson masterpiece, "The Passion of the Christ." In it Mary, the Mother of the Lord, runs to her wounded Son. He has fallen for the third time from the weight of the Cross. There is a flash back to an earlier day when that same son, as a child, is seen playing in the dusty streets of Nazareth and is about to fall.
With the tender love of a mother, Mary reaches out to her Son. Then the viewer sees her hand touch the wounded face of the Adult Son and Savior who looks at her, and through words addressed to her - He speaks to every human person - from the beginning of time until the end - saying: "Behold, I make all things new." That is the hunger in the heart of every human person expressed on New Year's Eve and continued on New Year's day.
As we repent for the failures of the past year, reflect on the gifts it brought and resolve to "be better" in the coming year, we are confronted with the reality of our human condition and our fratcured freedom. We know that our resolutions to change often end in failure. We are prone to making wrong choices in daily life. We sin. Classical theology speaks of this inclination as "concupiscence".
The Apostle Paul wrote about this experience to the early Christians in Rome in the seventh chapter of his letter: "For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me... Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Our freedom is a reflection of the Image of God within us. It was fractured by the effects of the first sin. Our ability to exercise it properly by choosing the good has been undermined. In the words of Blessed John Paul II ("The Splendor of Truth") "freedom itself needs to be set free." Through the Incarnation, Saving Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus we are capacitated to live our lives differently. When we do, Jesus can make all things new!
As we cross from 2011 to 2012 let us make our first resolution to behold His face, wounded by love, as his mother did. Let us choose to walk through 2012 allowing the Savior to take up residence in our hearts and in our homes.
For the Christian, time has purpose. It is a part of a loving plan of a timeless God who, in His Son, the Timeless One, came into time in order to transform it from within. We have been made a part of His ongoing redemptive plan for the entire cosmos through His Church. Time is the field in which this loving plan proceeds.
Human beings mark time by significant events. The question is not whether we will mark time but how. What message are we proclaiming in the process of our calendaring of time? The Christian understanding of time as having a redemptive purpose is why we mark time by the great events of the faith.
On the first day of the New Year we celebrate the Feast of the Mother of God. This is no liturgical accident. She who beheld the face of the Savior invites us to hear the words of Jesus Christ, "Behold I make all things new!" She is the Mother of the New Creation because the One whom she held in her womb and birthed for ...
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