Cycle A The New Year

 Civilisations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1st (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays

The New Year signifies that the time has arrived to bid farewell to the by-gone year and to welcome the New Year. People welcome the new year with lots of joy. However, things are different now and we have just overcome the coronavirus pandemic and we are very excited to welcome the New Year 2023.

We once again welcome a new year that brings with it a message of hope.  A dawning of a brand-new chapter in our lives that shows us that it’s okay to let go of the past and start again. It’s a reset button. It’s an opportunity to reinvent ourselves

but only if we have the strength to keep moving forward. Remember, every moment we spent in the past is a moment we waste in the present.

What are we willing to do differently this year?  What are we willing to sacrifice so that we can finally live the creative life that we have always imagined?  Instead of worrying about tomorrow or wondering how you are going to stick with it all year.  Just take one small step today in the right direction. As the ancient sage Lao-Tzu reminds us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Despite the divisions and the discord, this is still a different time, a new year, a season for reconsideration and renewal. The pandemic made us realize the transitory nature of life and the materials possessions. 

The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the year. Many people have lost their jobs or seen their incomes cut. Unemployment rates have increased across major economies. The travel industry has been badly damaged, with airlines cutting flights and customers cancelling business trips and holidays.

It's forced us to take a step back, think, understand and appreciate what it means to live. During the pandemic we realized the importance of human connection. Many of us have become aware of how much we need other people. It taught us that family is the best medicine of all. 

This is a time of the year to mend old broken bridges and forgive past mistakes of the passing year. It offers a new chance of gratitude and forgiveness. It is also a window to invite new people and experiences in our lives. The past cannot be changed, but the future can be. 

To forgive is to reach beyond the storms of the moment. Jesus forgave unconditionally from the cross, but also in far less dire circumstances. Pope John Paul II went to see his would-be assassin and forgave him. 

Once Yusuf was enjoying a sound sleep in his tent. After nightfall, a stranger came to his tent and said: “I am tired and hungry. The police is after me. I do not know where to find food and shelter.

Do not refuse my help.” Yusuf said, “it is true, this is my tent, but it is not mine more than it is God’s. You may come in and take rest and eat anything you find here.”

Yusuf entertained his guest nicely.

Before dawn, he awakened him and asked him to run away before the arrival of the police.

He also offered the guest some gold.

The stranger was very much moved by his act of kindness.

He told that he would not be able to go like that. The stranger disclosed that he was the actual killer of his eldest son.

Yusuf said, “Take twice the gold. My swiftest horse is at your disposal. Ride away fast. My black thought of revenge will ride away with you”.

When we are entering into the New Year we should be able to forget the past and celebrate other people’s success. Remember that blowing out somebody else’s candle will never make ours shine anywhere. And be careful with our words because once they are spoken, they can only be forgiven and not forgotten.