Happy New Year!
It’s that time of year again. The magazines are encouraging this time of resolutions and change with headlines like “The Year of You!” and “The Makeover Issue.” Personally, I like the times in the year that I have the opportunity to re-boot. The new year represents a fresh start and a chance to change things about myself that prevent me from being the best version of myself that God calls me to be.
My family and I were blessed to have been given the gift of a cruise by my mom for Christmas. We had a great young priest on the ship who did the homily on the Feast of the Epiphany. He talked about the three kings and how they went to great effort to follow a star which led them to their Lord and Savior – Emmanuel – God with us.
He then used examples of “false stars” in our lives that we sometimes follow. He used examples from the cruise – gambling, partying, and overeating. We think they are going to make us happy, but they never truly do deliver. There are also examples in our everyday lives – figurative “stars” we pursue in hopes of happiness. The other stars we follow (popularity, excessive focus on work and success, unobtainable physical beauty, etc.) will only leave us lacking and seeking something more. If we are honest with ourselves, we know deep in our souls that the only true happiness can be found in our relationship with God, which then translates into love of others.
In his new year homily, Pope Francis also touched on this idea. He discussed the hope that we have in following the star of Jesus Christ rather than the stars of the world. He warned this is not “an illusory hope based on human, frail promises, nor a naïve hope, which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future.” Rather, it is a hope based on God’s blessing, containing the “greatest message of good wishes there can be, and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us.” (Source: www.ncregister.com)
So this year, I resolve to try and pursue the “stars” that lead me closer to the manger, rather than the stars that lead me to false illusions. Not an easy resolution, of course. But neither is getting off this weight from the holidays! I’d better start praying….and exercising.
“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)