Theme: FIND YOURSELF FIRST!
“IT IS NOT OUR ABILITIES THAT SHOW WHO WE TRULY ARE. IT IS OUR CHOICES”.
By: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
Homily for Saturday January 1 2022
(NUMBERS 6:22-27, GALATIANS 4:4-7, LUKE2:16-21
(Albus Dumbledon: Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter Series)
So, in that spirit of choices, I want you to reflect with me this New Year Day on the theme, ‘Find yourself first’ borrowing from the instruction on every flight: “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others”.
Today we celebrate the hypostatic union of God and mankind, inaugurated in the womb of a woman. In God, there will forever be our humanity and Mary will forever be the mother of God. That is why we begin the year by celebrating Our Lady, the woman who wove the humanity of God. Also, it marks the end of the octave of Christmas. On this final of the eight days of the octave of Christmas, it is fitting that the church should honour the one whose faith, love and trust in God made this miraculous and joyous day possible.
Perhaps a proper merger of the secular world’s celebration and the church would be to see in the dawning of a new year as being a moment of new beginnings for the world. The time of new year is a time of hope and optimism and wisdom from the past to guide into a great future by starting over again that is why we talk about New year resolution. Permit me to quibble, who among us here can remember his/her 2021 new yew resolution. Funny right? Well new year resolutions are private and personal, but Aristotle will say an unexamined life is not worth living. So, we move.
The first verbal clause in the gospel today is ‘the Shepherds went in a haste and found’ Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger. ‘To find’ is the key word. They did not find miraculous and spectacular signs, but a simple family. Yet there they truly found God, who is grandeur in littleness, strength in tenderness. But how were the shepherds able to find this inconspicuous sign? They were called by an angel. We too would not have found God and have life this new year if we had not been called by grace.
So, what are we called to find at the beginning of this year? It would be good to find time to call or visit someone. Time is a treasure that all of us possess. Let us ask for the grace to find time for God and for our neighbour – for those who are alone or suffering, for those who need someone to listen and show concern for them, our aged parents, our lost or disgruntled sibling. If we can find time to give, we will be amazed and filled with joy, like the shepherds.
My brothers and sisters remember you must find yourself first. How? By finding just one bad habit. One and only one and resolve to work on it. May be by so doing on first January 2023, if I ask you your last new year resolution, you will be able to say it.
May Mary, mother of God who pondered all things in her heart help us to emulates her lofty virtues.
Have a blessed year!
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara