Ten years ago we celebrated the beginning of the third millennium, which seems hard to believe. I remember at the time listening to some of the many speeches given by politicians and leaders boasting of all the great things the human race had achieved; and it’s true we have achieved many great things. But one thing that was noticeably absent was any mention of God. It was all about what we had done ourselves, by our own strength, by our own power. I think we can be quick to forget that everything we have and are comes from God. There is a lovely line at the beginning of Psalm 126 which says ‘If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labour.’ In other words, if God is not with us in what we do, we are wasting our time.
Over the last year we have seen so many changes in this country alone: the economy collapsing, crazy weather patterns, structures in the Church collapsing, so many people dying of cancer in spite of all our sophistication. Perhaps one thing that this forces us to remember is how small we are by ourselves, and how easily we can lose everything, even overnight. While this can be very painful I think it can also be very good, because it reminds us how much we depend on God for everything. Yes we have achieved great things, but it is thanks to all God has given us: the intelligence, the opportunities, the vision. All comes from God.
The reading today from St. John's Gospel says it so beautifully, ‘In the beginning was the Word… not one thing had its being, but through him.’ God was there first and we are part of his creation, not the other way around. He is not an optional extra for us. We are the optional extra for him. God didn’t have to create us. God didn’t have to give us all that we have. But the Lord wants us to share in his own happiness, that’s what He has created us for. And we will share in this happiness, if we keep to the right path.
We cannot go forward without God. We will never have peace without God. We can not exist without God. We are nothing without him. And with Christ there is nothing that we cannot do, because we do not have to depend on our own strength, but on his.
At the beginning of every new year people make resolutions to begin again, to try to improve their lifestyle, by giving up something, or taking up something. I would like to put to you the words of Pope John Paul II: in one of his addresses he said, ‘In the name of God I beg you, choose for Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.’ He is the only way, and our only hope of a good future, with peace and prosperity. Maybe we could include this as part of our new year’s resolution. Choose to be a follower of Christ, live what you believe, know your faith and teach it to your children, so that our world may be centered on Christ, whose world it is anyway.
We go forward with great hope, because there is always great hope for anyone who believes in God. When God is with us, we have nothing to be afraid of. ‘In the name of God I beg you, choose Christ, who is the way the truth and the life.’ Happy new year to you all.