December 31, 2020 – 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas and the Last Day of the Year
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/123120.cfm)
We have reached the last day of the year of 2020. We have been through a lot this year. There are too many to mention them. Not just to few of us but to most of us living on this planet. 2020 has given us many blows of fear and anxiety. In addition, our personal struggles with our families, with our work, studies and other aspects of our life are also there. And perhaps, they are still with us until this last day of the year.
One can just imagine the overwhelming trials that brought life-changing moments into our life. Yet, despite all those things that bombarded us personally and as a community, there are still so much to be grateful for. This is very essential as we go forward today and welcome a new day that is about to unfold before us.
With all of these, it is just proper for us to allow everything to touch us. We can do this by giving a time of silence for us to listen and to feel. St. John’s Gospel tells us that before God spoke to create the world, there was only the silence of God. It was from that silence of God also, that God speaks. We are reminded that “in the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God.” And this Word became flesh who made his dwelling among us.
And so, for all that has been, I would like to invite you now that we observe a minute of silence and close our eyes to thank the Lord for his grace and favor upon us.
Please observe a minute of silence now.
There are also three invitations that I would like you to dwell on this last day of the year. These three invitations will hopefully help us to look ahead with hope, to be grateful at present and to be reconciled with our past.
The first is the invitation of letting go. There must have been painful, hurtful and traumatic events that happened this year. They could have created sad memories in us. We could have been filled guilt and shame, or with sorrow and grief, or with disappointment and hopelessness. However, when we do not learn to let them go then, we will only be unnecessarily dragging past burdens into our present life. We will only feel being burdened and tired in the next coming days. Then, we will surely lose the opportunities to enjoy the day and enjoy life in its fullness. Hence, this is a time of letting go. Let go what must be surrendered. It might not be easy. But for the sake of our sanity and the good of those people around you, let go. Nevertheless, be assured also that as we let go those that burdens us, the Gospel of John reminds us, “From his (Jesus) fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.” We are graced and be confident in that.
The second is the invitation of letting God. Once we let go, we also let God to heal us, to renew us and to transform us. St. John tells us in his Gospel that God is a light that shines in our darkness. To let God shine in us means not allowing darkness to overcome us. We allow God to be our God and not our selfish desires and tendencies. Hence, this is a time of Letting God.
The third is the invitation of welcoming. Allowing God to be God opens opportunities for us to be surprised. The days ahead are not certain, yet, if we make our hearts filled with anxiety because of uncertainties, then we also lose the spirit of being childlike. To be childlike is a constant invitation of the Lord to us. To be welcoming is to develop an attitude joy and cheerfulness in us. This makes our day lighter despite the demands that we may have. St. John reminds us again in the Gospel, the true light (Jesus) enlightens everyone. Thus, let us never lose the chance to be enlightened by Jesus by being welcoming of the light. To be enlightened by the light of the Lord is to welcome others into our life and to welcome opportunities for growth without our biases and prejudices. This day, indeed, is a time of welcoming.
May this last day of the year bring us now new hope and a renewed spirit that does only look what is ahead but also rejoices what we have now. Hinaut pa.