A Fresh Start

(Homily for New Years Day)

Bottom line: In order to face the great struggle between good and evil, it is urgent we make a fresh start - with the help of Mary Mother of God.

Happy New Year! Perhaps you have some personal New Year's practices, such as making a list of resolutions. That is a good idea, although I have to admit I haven't done it for a few years. I still haven't carried out resolutions I made back in the eighties and nineties. I did, however, do something to observe New Year's Eve. I read through my 2007 journal. Now, journal is a pretty grandiose word for it. It is mainly a few notes each day to help me remember things. But what impressed me as I read through the torrent of events in my own life and in our parish was to see the face of God behind them. Of course, there were shadows - mainly on account of my failure (and that of other people) to respond God's voice.

What struck me most was a sense of urgency, a need to be prepared for what is coming in this New Year. When you step back, it is ominous to see how the breakdown in our society seems to be gaining speed. At a dizzying pace we are losing our sense of marriage and family - and human life itself. This breakdown was dramatically symbolized by what happened here in King County on Christmas Eve. A young woman, together with her boyfriend, coldly murdered her parents, her brother and sister-in-law and their two small children. It is hard to imagine what malevolent powers possessed them. And it took place in a seeming tranquil, picturesque town. It illustrates how we are in a battle between good and evil. We need to prepare ourselves for what may be coming.

Our Holy Father has asked us to dedicate this day to prayer for peace. In this supposed season of peace, we see such terrible turmoil in our world. It seems far away - in places like Kenya and Pakistan - but history teaches us that events far away can very quickly affect other countries. We need to pray for peace in our world.

Today is the Feast of Mary the Mother of God. It is the Octave of Christmas. On this day Mary and Joseph took the child Jesus to the temple for the rite of circumcision and to receive his sacred name. The second reading says that Jesus was "born of a woman, born under the law." As someone born of a woman, he shares our human nature. Born under the law, he observed the rites of the Jewish people - beginning with his circumcision all the way until the Last Supper. Mary, a faithful Israelite, accompanied Jesus in his way of salvation. We ask Mary's motherly intercession as we begin a new year.

This New Year 2008 underlines the fact that you and I can make a fresh start. It is never to late. As we thank God for his goodness in the past year and ask forgiveness for our failings, we trust in his mercy and protection as we face a new year. May Mary the Mother of God intercede for us.


From Archives:

New Years 2006: The Lord Bless You
2005: Keep Out of His Way
2004: Signs of Hope Among Teenagers
2003: A Tradition Worth Fighting For
2002: No Justice Without Forgiveness

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (Christmas Thank-You's; J.R.R. Tolkien: I fell in love with the Blessed Sacrament from the beginning and by the Mercy of God have never fallen out again. )


Updates on Traditional Latin Mass at Holy Family Parish, Seattle

Preaching Schedule (Dec '07 - Jun '08)

Our Lady of La Vang (Holy Family, Seattle)


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