“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
Well, another year has come and gone and we stand on the cusp of a new calendar year. Inevitably we will be asked to read and reflect on the past year with its successes and its failures and we will be nostalgic for the good times and glad to see the bad times pass. It’s New Year after all, and that means we are already thinking about what this new 12 month cycle of time will bring us.
But is there a path that frees us from the constant rhythm (some might even call it the slavery) of the passing of our time? Is there a freedom from the all-too-familiar habits of marking our new years with another party and another setting of those familiar resolutions?
Hey, I’m even open to the reality where that’s ain’t such a bad way to mark our time, but then why does it feel so predictable and why do I end up with all the same resolutions I had last year? Why am I so easily moved but not so easily changed?
Our Lord gives us another gift of another year. How shall we unwrap it? How shall we spend it? What will this new year bring us and what will we bring to this new year?
In today’s Gospel Lesson we see tools we can effectively employ to shape our new year rather than once again allowing time to overpower us and make us its slave.
Our Gospel Lesson has our Lord telling a bunch of poor theologians that they are wrong. Not a bad, hard truth for those of us who regularly and proudly handle eternal things! One of my favorite professors in my first stent in theological training began every class with “Good morning, brothers. All men are liars.” The humility and the freedom in embracing my own limitations allows me to walk the saving path of both repentance and true love. Repentance makes me free from the necessity of being “right” and love makes me free to embrace even those who hate me, refusing to make them my enemies though they see me as theirs.
The Gospel Lesson also reminds me that God sees me and knows me as a free, unique, and unrepeatable person. He is the God of Abraham, the God, of Jacob, and the God of Isaac (thanks Fr. Allan). He knows me as I truly am and my true salvation will be as I allow His grace to show me my true self as He knows me! My journey isn’t over. I am still becoming who I really am, and by grace, and my cooperation with His love, I can become “like” Him. See the lesson in Mark 12:18-27.
Today, I am invited to embrace two very important tools to see real progress in my spiritual journey: I am wrong and need to repent AND I am still becoming who I really am. The lack of patience with my own journey and the foolish delusion of my own self-sufficiency are two enemies I must reject if this new year will see real progress made in my life.
My dearest, before us is a new year untouched by both mistakes and successes. Tread softly into this pristine time and carry with you the strength of your repentance and the sure knowledge that God already sees you as you can be, and He loves you more than you, yourself, knows how to love. With repentance and humility this new year is filled with the promise of freedom, joy, and finally getting beyond those old, familiar, mistakes that seem to have attached themselves to your life. There is hope, my dearest, and His name is Jesus.
Christ is Born! Happy New Year, and may God grant us His courage to purposefully embrace this life-long journey to be like Him.