New and Improved
Perhaps that is why we love New Years – it is the promise of a new year – with new opportunities, a brand new calendar with empty spaces for our scheduled events, with lots of promise and expectation. New Year is also the time when we begin to think about ways to improve our lives. New Year resolutions are those promises we make to ourselves to improve ourselves and improve the quality of our life in the new year.
We are fortunate that the Gospel is on the same wave length. Jesus promises new life and life in abundance (an improvement over the life of scarcity many seem to live.)
But the practical question is how we achieve this newness – this improvement. It is not as simple as buying a product with the spiffy packaging declaring it to be new and improved. (At times I have discovered it is only the packaging itself that is new or improved and the product is the same-old same-old.) So how do we become new and improved?
We may find the answer in the post-Christmas season called Epiphany. It is also called the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. This season we enter after Christmas gives us hints about how we can have Jesus’ message enter our lives and transform us. On the Feast of Jesus baptism we hear of Jesus accepting his vocation and allowing himself to be immersed through the baptism of John into devoting himself to the work so that the vision of God becomes the reality of the world. In succeeding weeks we hear of disciples being called to follow Jesus; hear about seeing the world in new ways and then allowing that new perception of reality to change how we make decisions and live our lives. In short the season challenges us let the scriptures form and change us to become new and improved disciples; to help us live into and co-create with God the world and our lives as he would have them.,