Dear Friends, Happy New Year!
Did you begin the New Year in the right spirit? St. Paul gives an excellent piece of advice he practiced himself: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13). Basically, Paul is telling us to be forward-looking at the possibilities that we have in the call of God in Christ Jesus. This is something that we can apply at the beginning of this New Year.
“Forgetting what lies behind” is an invitation to not dwell on the past failures, hurts and wrong choices but to learn from them in the light that Jesus brings into our lives. No doubt, our desire is to be better persons, to live better lives, to make more healthy choices and to live with all in harmony and peace. “Straining forward to what lies ahead” is the promise of the fulfillment of our longings in Jesus. As we begin this First Sunday of the New Year together, let us remember that it truly is a New Beginning for all of us here in the Catholic Community of St. Matthias where Jesus is the center. What is our New Year gift to Jesus? We have the answer in the 19th century English carol, Christina Rosetti’s A Christmas Carol, which begins, “In the bleak midwinter.” The carol sums up, in its last stanza, the nature of” giving to the Christ Child.”
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I could give a Lamb.
If I were a wise man, I could do my part.
What I can I give Him? Give Him my heart!”
Today’s feast of the Epiphany reminds us of the manifestation of the Christ Child to the whole world. Luke’s gospel in a special way stresses this universal salvific plan of God who came to save everyone. There is a place for everyone in the family of God – no matter how different a person is. “Unity in Diversity” is another way of stating who we are as Christians. Today’s 12 noon Mass is a celebration of our diversity as the Catholic Community of St. Matthias.
I plan to take my vacation this month and God willing, I hope to reach home (in the southern state of Kerala, India), this coming Sunday. I commend myself to your prayers. Many of you know that I could not attend my father’s funeral last January. My hope is to be with my mother and family to celebrate his first death anniversary on January 11. I am so very happy that Msgr. Brennan who has vast pastoral experience and wisdom is with us and will oversee all the parish needs. At the moment, he is having a short but well-deserved vacation to Ireland to be with his sister and other family members.
May the Blessings of Baby Jesus stay with us and with our dear ones for the whole of 2022 and beyond!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal