With the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord next Sunday, the Christmas season will come to a close. We are already a week into the New Year. Can you believe how fast time flies? I remember when I was in my early twenties – that was a while ago, many, many moons ago – I could not imagine that I would see the year 2000 or 2010. And yet here is 2015. As we all grow older, we realize that the passage of time accelerates. The older we get, the faster time goes.
At the onset of this year I would like to invite all of us to appreciate the precious gift of time. We have only a limited quantity of it assigned to each one of us. Already at our birth, our days are already numbered. Every day I have the vivid awareness of how this precious gift is steadily running out. Time is the one gift that makes all other gifts possible. We need to give thanks to God daily for this special gift.
The best way to appreciate this gift is to cherish the present moment. Too many of us live either in the past or in the future. Too many people regret the past as they struggle with shackles that hold them bound to unexpressed loves, broken promises, shattered relationships, faded dreams, and the sins of the past. Too many wait for a future that may never come. Unable to be happy at the present moment, they delude themselves into thinking that they would be happy in the unpredictable future. In the process they lose precious time and miss opportunities right in front of their noses.
Sometimes we are afraid to make a tough decision that will enable us to live fuller lives. A few years ago my dearest friend who was working at an unrewarding job was at a crossroads. Her two boys were approaching school-going age and she wanted to spend more time with them. Even though her family would take a heavy financial blow, she quit her job to be at home with her children. She recently told me how she did not regret her decision at all. Money has been tight but she is very happy. She will never trade her precious time with her boys for any amount of money in the world. Let us all live in the present because the present is all we have.
Our God is the God of the present. For God who is eternal there is no time. He lives in the eternal NOW. There is no past or future. Let us imitate our God by focusing our attention on the present moment and living our lives to the fullest.
Let us begin the New Year with hope and optimism. No matter how the past year has gone, the Lord is offering us another chance to write a new chapter in the book of our lives. Let us not allow the past to hold us down. Instead, let us move forward with energy. In this regard I would like to share with you a little poem I read many years ago. I think it is very appropriate.
The New Leaf
He came to my desk with quivering lip – the lesson was done.
“Dear teacher, I want a new leaf,” he said, “I have spoiled this one.”
I took the old leaf, stained and blotted, and gave him a new one, all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled: “Do better now, my child.”
I went to the Throne with a quivering soul – The old year was done.
“Dear Father, hast thou a new leaf for me? I have spoiled this one.”
He took the old leaf, stained and blotted, and gave me a new one, all unspotted.
And into my heart smiled: “Do better now, my child.”
Happy New Year! May the Christ Child help us to cherish every moment, to use every day to bless the lives of others, and to do better! Let us pray for one another.
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...