What’s New in the New Year

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Father Joel de los Reyes

Every New Year marks an end to a certain chapter of one’s life-journey as time crosses over to a new cycle of new possibilities. It bids goodbye to the passing year identified and characterized by its own realities, be it natural or man-made.

And what is new for the New Year? Is it that we begin a new life and put to rest the old, perhaps torn and deformed by scratches and wounds of self-pity, regrets and anxieties? It’s about time to be born again and our birthplace must be a fertile field where there will be enough water and space for us to plant fruit trees of all kinds. In other words, we can begin building up self-confidence, establish new relationships, act and behave responsibly and maturely, be productive so that others may benefit from good works and talents. We must remember that every profession we chose is full of potentials and rich opportunities for us to grow and optimize our capabilities. On the other hand, the same opportunities are also vulnerable to truckloads of failure, heartaches, and pains and the past year was probably laden with people who have succumbed to such misfortune.

Having seen and observed the fruitless consequences of poor life-management done by others, and perhaps somehow ourselves included as accomplices, we will resolve this New Year not to follow the same trail of failure again but change our course to the direction that will lead to success. This can be done if we get up from lethargy and work hard in wholesome and trusting collaboration with people around us. Ancient wisdom reminds us that two heads are better than one, and that we are not an island, static and alone, but a rational and social being.

This New Year, we will dissolve that feeling of superiority over others but learn how to bend down and be humble so that we could perceive our neighbors’ needs and have a clear understanding of their situation. Let us not forget that our merciful Father has gifted each of us with a working compass, our brain that is, to guide us through the perilous waters of life and has chartered for us the right way to follow, inspired and guided by his commandments. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” He also gave us the gift of time to perfect the art of patience and temperance one day at a time, for nature was never in haste but it took cover in winter before its flowers blossom in springtime. Let us not have the illusion that we can accomplish our goals overnight. It is said of old that it would take hundreds of years for an olive, the king of all trees, to reach its full grown maturity. In the Holy Land, I have seen olive trees in the garden of Gethsemane still standing and strong as witnesses to the Lord’s agony during that fateful night more than two thousand years ago. In contrast, an onion plant’s life-span is only good for nine weeks.

Did your vigor and enthusiasm over your desired plans the past year last only within the life term of an onion plant and never took off from the ground? This New Year, we will strive to become like an olive tree, sturdy and resilient, sober yet productive useful and creative. If there’s anyone in this world who has the ability to master the art of selling the commodity of goodness and be an agent of change, it must be you and no one else.

If we have to be a slave of something this coming New Year, it must be a good habit under which we will grow and develop our potentials. We won’t allow the attractiveness of fashion to dictate our principles and decisions, for fashion is transitory; now it is here but gone tomorrow. We also need to make an oath to ourselves that nothing could retire our life’s growth and progress unless we allow it to happen, and nothing can diminish our resolve to change for the better; after all, are we not the master of our fate and the captain of our soul? Have a Happy and prosperous New Year!

On the flip side, someone said that God has erased the trash of your past and He is preparing you for the treasure of your future. If you want “to fly”, give up everything that weighs you down. Everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain but you can’t have a rainbow without rain. As you interact with people, don’t worry about what other people say behind your back, they are the people who are finding fault in your life instead of fixing the faults in their own lives.

Here’s a prayer, “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you Peace for the New Year.” Amen on that folks! 

St. Faustina wrote Jesus’ words, “I do not reward for good results but for the patience and hardship undergone for My sake.”61