As I write it is but a few short hours from the start of a New Year. Most of the world has already welcomed 2013 by now, and we’ve been watching fireworks displays from other continents. It’s a little surreal to me that we’ve already reached New Year’s Eve. My calendar has been off the wall since shortly before Christmas thanks to Paintfest and I still need to figure out where to hang the new calendar. Our days are all running into each other and even the trash service, usually like clockwork, was a day late this week. What day is it? What month is it? Now, what year is it?
It seems the news headlines are slogging into 2013 with little hope. Newtown, CT, is still reeling from its tragedy. Washington DC is still bickering over the so-called “fiscal cliff.” India has its own horrible news to subdue its celebrations. It’s easy to despair of anything better as we get ready to cheer, what, another year of this?
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We individually cannot change the headlines mentioned above. But if we, as Pope Benedict XVI suggested in his Urbi et Orbi message last week, open our hearts we can see that there is still hope in this world despite the gloom of the media fog. For this is not only 2013, it is a great Year of Faith.
Here we see the power of faith! God has done everything; he has done the impossible: he was made flesh. His all-powerful love has accomplished something which surpasses all human understanding: the Infinite has become a child, has entered the human family. And yet, this same God cannot enter my heart unless I open the door to him. Porta fidei! The door of faith! We could be frightened by this, our inverse omnipotence. This human ability to be closed to God can make us fearful. But see the reality which chases away this gloomy thought, the hope that conquers fear: truth has sprung up! God is born! “The earth has yielded its fruits” (Ps 67:7). Yes, there is a good earth, a healthy earth, an earth freed of all selfishness and all lack of openness. In this world there is a good soil which God has prepared, that he might come to dwell among us. A dwelling place for his presence in the world. This good earth exists, and today too, in 2012, from this earth truth has sprung up! Consequently, there is hope in the world, a hope in which we can trust, even at the most difficult times and in the most difficult situations. Truth has sprung up, bringing kindness, justice and peace. — Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas 2012
If I may offer a New Year’s wish for all of us, it is that 2013 will find us more open to God and the unique part He has given each of us to play on this earth. May we cast aside despair and cynicism and focus on the small things that really matter, that add joy and cheer and hope and peace to our neighbor. Faith. Hope. Love. And the greatest of these is Love.
Happy New Year 2013.