Jesus Christ, the Future of Humanity
Time and tide waits for no man. In the humdrum of our daily activities, one day after another passes by and before we know it, we are at the threshold of yet another year. Our machinery grinds to a momentary pause as we take stock of the year in passing. Resolutions are attempted and we begin the year with a mixture of hope and trepidation of what is to come.
Indeed, such anxiety is only natural as we are living in troubled times, with natural disasters, disease outbreaks, conflicts and moral decadence all around us. Added to that, the economy is gloomy and uncertain. Most of all we live under threat of terrorism and self-radicalized fundamentalists who are bent on establishing a new world order through violent and destructive means. Ironically, with all the modern technological advancement and mass communication, the world has never been more unsafe than now. Is it a surprise that history repeats itself? For even though we have grown more sophisticated with the advancement of science and technology, yet the human heart remains the same across the continuum of time. How should we as Christians face the New Year that is before us?
In the liturgical calendar of the Church, the first day of the New Year is dedicated to the Solemnity of the Mother of God, which commemorates Mary’s role in the mystery of salvation. In the Eastern Church, the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is also commemorated. This is because it falls on the octave of the Nativity – the eighth day, on which the child was circumcised and given the name Jesus (Lk 2:21). By celebrating these two feasts, the focus is more on Christ who is named Jesus, “Yahweh saves!” The feast of Mary, the mother of God underscores that this Jesus is one person, truly divine and truly human. In Jesus, God has assumed our humanity. He knows our pains and struggles and temptation. He is the throne of mercy to which we can turn to as He is our Leader in salvation. Hence, the ushering of the New Year should not just be focused on merriment and festivity but as Catholics, the New Year should be rich with spiritual meaning for us; one that gives us much gratitude and thankfulness for the past, hope and courage to face the future ahead. We face the future not alone but with Jesus and the assistance of our Blessed Mother .Like Mary, in situations beyond our understanding, we should pray for a deeper faith, and like her who “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:19), we too should contemplate on situations that befall us and live in anticipation of the Kairos – God’s time for us. Hence, our future is secure only when we place our hope on Jesus and believe in His promises.
Today, we also mark the World Day of Peace. Faith in Jesus as the Good News, the light of humanity is also the guarantee to world peace in this troubled and divisive world. He is the source of peace. Unless we are reconciled with God, we cannot find peace within us. The source of division lies in the divided and selfish hearts of humanity. Human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority, a firm determination to respect other men and peoples and their dignity, as well as the studied practice of brotherhood are absolutely necessary for the establishment of peace. (Gaudium et Spes).
Reconcilation with God will bring about reconcilation with our fellowmen. Peace is not merely the absence of war. Peace is the fruit of justice, respect for all without discrimination, in any form, race, religion, language and age. Division originates from the injustice of people’s actions, the lack of integrity, honesty and fairness, especially at home, in the workplace and in society. But we must go beyond justice to charity and compassion. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, shows us the way to being a man for others, through unconditional service, humility, compassion for the weak and forgiveness of our enemies.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this New Year, let Jesus be your future. Let Him be the center of our lives and our relationships. Let us ground our faith and life in Jesus and on the Word of God as the path to truth, love and life. Let us also do our part for a peaceful tomorrow by righting our relationships through love, patience and dialogue. May Mary, the Mother of God, inspire us to a deeper faith and humility. May we learn to be discerning and contemplative in prayer as we seek to be instruments and channels of unity and peace in the world, beginning in our family, in the workplace and society. I wish you a blessed 2017, I wish you Jesus.