BEING A SHEPHERD
The Emperor Augustus swells into pride that prompted him to convene a world-wide census; on the other, the Creator of the Universe, is taking the human form, in the humble manger of Bethlehem, because he had nowhere to lay down His head. What a contradiction! The Holy Spirit, our advocate teaches the followers of Jesus how to live in the age of contradiction. For I came not to bring peace but sword (Mt.10:34), declares the prince of peace. Words of contradiction indeed! The mighty sword of peace, that alleviates miseries from the world; sword that establishes justice in the world of corruption, sword that restores godly smile in the lips of widow, orphan and the most vulnerable section of the society. The message of new year might be words of contradiction indeed, for that have witnessed divorce in their family life, have suffered the loss of a loved one, have lost job, have experienced failure in the career, and that have lived life in constant doubt and dilemma in religious life.
As a matter of fact, right before a weak of the New Year 2017, the Eternal Promise of the Heavenly Father is born to this world, more specifically, born into my life. To prepare us for the new beginning, for a new chapter in our life of confusion. The Prince of Peace declares, do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Is.43:18-19).
sus the Saviour of the world is the answer for all your questions. Allow Him to be born in your hearts, in order that he may do a new thing in your life. When the Prince of Peace is born in your hearts, you will see in the eyes of the Holy Spirit, the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them (Isa. 11:6). A lot of impossibilities in your life will turn into a state of certainty and vitality.
In the ancient Roman tradition, the pagans had a god, named, Janus. The peculiarity of this god Janus was, it had two heads, one looked back and the other looked forward. The month of January is named after this Roman god. Likewise, many of us are caught in the memory of the past. Our New beginning of 2017 is interrupted by the failures of the year 2016. Many live in the past disappointments, sorrows, break ups and dilemma. Past addictions, evil habits and extreme attachment towards materialism do not permit the hearts of individuals to witness a new dawn, to experience a new promise. To such, weary hearts Our God has a message: He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will get exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isa.40: 29-31). The query is are you ready to wait for the Lord?
Waiting a while for the Lord, is much less painful than your long standing struggle of the past years. Waiting denotes, your whole hearted involvement in your parish activities, participation of the daily Eucharistic Celebration, attending a retreat or going for confession. Small gestures of waiting in fact, nevertheless, that would bring about a long standing transformation into your marriage life, jobs, career, and institution and to the state of your spiritual life.
A saying goes, “The lessons in life will be repeated until you learn them.” Yes, experience teaches as well, when we learn from our own mistakes and from the mistakes of the other, we are unlikely to meet the same misfortunes. Hence, the New Year is the fitting time to pause for a moment and to introspect on one’s own pitfalls and then to draw some lessons from them. Furthermore, to make a pledge or to take a concrete resolution, to begin with our life reality, is the right way to approach the New Year 2017.
New Year is also the time to celebrate the wonderful deeds of the Lord with gratitude. Moses began to praise God after Yahweh had dried up the red sea for the Israelites to escape the tyranny of Pharaoh (Exod. 15). Recall, gratefully the incidents in which the Lord has turned the red seas of frustrations into a melody of victory. Recall the instances, in which the Lord has rescued you from the tyranny of evil associations and from the snare of the evil one. The Showers of blessings that flew through your life, for which you have no answer, no scientific lab to prove. Turn to God, this is the right time for you, to express your gratitude to your God. Your sense of gratitude will instil in you a renewed confidence and an unshakable trust in your All Powerful God. Remember, the God who accompanied you throughout the year 2016, will also accompany you throughout the year 2017. Let the year 2017 be a year of grace.