In business there seems to be an inherent pressure around “month-end” or “year-end” to make your numbers. I understand that these numbers are a way to measure individual performance or the health of an organization. Management and stockholders seemingly are forever asking, “How do sales compare from one month to the next? How does productivity compare from one year to another?” Yet in some ways these “accounting” deadlines seem superfluous. Does it make a huge difference if a huge sale closes on the 31st of one month instead of the 1st of the next month? Doesn’t the company still benefit from the sale?
Alas, we have become people who measure practically everything, and these changes in the calendar are instrumental in our tracking. Think of what we celebrated just a week ago: one year ending and another beginning. Maybe the new year brings about significant changes for you. Or maybe like me, you are getting up and doing the same thing today as you did in the waning days of 2022. Yet, we celebrate this change as if when the minute hand on the clock inches past midnight we have a new lease on life. Out with the old! In with the new! Auld Lang Syne – as it were!
While for many of us celebrating the New Year brings about a sense of hope for things to come, our real hope is in Lord. Jesus’ purpose in life — his incarnation and birth of the Virgin, his ministry, his suffering and death on the cross, and his resurrection — is to give us hope.
The Catholic Bible Dictionary states it this way: “In Scripture, hope is intimately tied to faith. As a theological virtue, hope is the supernatural confidence that we will attain the kingdom of heaven and eternal life by placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying upon the grace of the Holy Spirit rather than our own strength.”
This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany. It is the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles, the Magi. The redemptive hope Jesus personifies is not limited to God’s Chosen People. Jesus came to give hope to the entire human race. Even today His message of hope goes beyond the labels we are tempted to apply to people. We are called to share His message with others, much like the Magi sharing their treasures with the infant Jesus.
Living a life of hope in Jesus isn’t dependent on a change of a calendar. And thankfully, celebrating the hope Jesus gives isn’t limited to one day a year. Every Sunday (and weekday!) we have the opportunity to celebrate life in the hope of Christ in the Mass! Be sure to join us – and invite a friend.
In the peace and HOPE of Christ,