7th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Are you thinking of resolutions to make for the coming year?   Maybe you want to begin a new diet or cut back on your screen time or read more Scripture.   Maybe you want to work on your relationship with a friend or family member.   Of course, these are all good ideas, but think about adding another resolution—one that flows from today’s Gospel reading (John 1:5).   Think about resolving to increase your sense of hope in the Lord.

Now, most of us already live with a certain degree of hope.   But sometimes anxiety can creep in and rob us of it.   We learn of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis and wonder if they’ll ever recover.   We fall back into a sin pattern we thought we had already conquered.   We see empty pews at Mass and worry about the future of the Church.

These are all real challenges, and it’s tempting to let them convince us to throw away our hope.   But at the bottom of such struggles are these two fundamental questions:   Does God see what is happening?   And is he going to do anything about it?

Today’s Gospel (John 1:5) provides us with the answers.   Jesus knows we live in a world darkened by sin, and this is precisely why he chose to enter it.   He is the light of the world, and no darkness can overcome him.   It doesn’t mean that the darkness is gone, but it does mean that it will not have the final word.   One day every tear will be wiped away, and there will be no more suffering (Revelation 21:4).   In the end, Jesus will come again and reign over all the earth.

So as you look back at the past year and look forward to the next, try not to focus on the problems.   Focus on Jesus instead.   When you go to Mass tonight or tomorrow, keep your eyes on him.   Look at the crucifix above the altar and think of how much he loves you.   Listen to the prayers with fresh ears.   Receive him with joy in the Eucharist.

What a Savior we have!   Even if things don’t change, Jesus remains the same.   He is ever present, always full of promise, hope, and power.

“Jesus, be my source of hope in the coming year!”

1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13

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