Happy New Year! The New Year’s Eve Mass is an opportunity for us to thank God for the blessings we received in 2022. We usher in the New Year not only watching all the celebrations across the world including the dropping of the ball in Times Square, but also by celebrating the Eucharist in God’s house and beginning 2023 with His blessings. Many will make this first day of the New Year a time of reflecting, resolving, and beginning again.
It is only understandable that most New Year’s resolutions are about personal health like eating right, losing weight, relaxing more, avoiding smoking, drinking etc. But Christianity reminds us that we are more than our bodies. Jesus says: “Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:23). Hence our New Year resolutions should address every aspect of our self ‐ physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. I came across some simple but profound ideas that the International Catholic Stewardship Council published. I wish to share these with you:
Practice gratitude – Cultivating a grateful heart is the hallmark of a Christian steward. Every day, express thankfulness. Seeing the good in your life will allow you to keep your heart compassionate and loving. Encounter the Lord each day – Find time to be with the Lord each day, whether it be for an hour or ten minutes. Have a conversation with the Lord. Give your joys and worries to Him as well. Allow God’s love to transform them.
Be present to others – There is much celebration and mourning, joy and sorrow in peoples’ lives. What a blessing it is to be able to share those times
and not let others experience them alone. The gift of your presence to others is much more valuable than you realize.
Resist overwork – There is a pressure to produce, meet goals, be successful. But activities that lead us to overwork, constant fatigue and worry do not give glory to God. What God calls us to do, we can do well. Be mindful that life requires balance, down time and letting go of unrealistic goals.
Give more – Good stewards realize that everything they have is entrusted to them as gifts to be shared. There is no better place to begin than sharing with the community that gathers around the Lord’s table at Mass.
Make a difference in your parish community – Believe it or not, your parish community can use your talents. Offering your talents to your faith community is one of the most effective ways to feel useful and connected to others, and it is a potentially life‐changing New Year resolution.
Consider living more simply – We cannot find fulfilment in possessions. They add nothing to our self‐worth. Jesus blessed the “poor in spirit” in his Sermon
on the Mount; and Saint Francis of Assisi urged us to live with only what was necessary, for that is how we begin to find God.
Don’t give up – People give up their New Year resolutions because of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. So take it slow, be kind to yourself and keep trying. Resist the urge to throw your hands up and quit. You succeed through small, manageable changes over time.
May the Blessings of Baby Jesus stay with all of you for the whole of the New Year 2023.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal