Good riddance to 2020! That sentiment seems to be echoing through all of our New Year celebrations. With the coronavirus pandemic, the financial crisis, and the tumultuous election, it seemed like bad news abounded everywhere we turned. Where was God in all of that?
I’d like to suggest that St. Paul has a key to understanding 2020. In Romans 5, he writes that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” There certainly was an abundance of sin in 2020. Racial strife, falsehoods and slander in politics, and despair and selfish greed during the pandemic abounded. So where were the proportional graces that St. Paul talks about?
The Magi give us a clue. These sages from the east were respected and lived comfortable lives at home. At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, they made a radical decision to leave everything and take a dangerous journey to find a baby King. When they found Jesus, an angel appeared to them in a dream and told them to go back home an unknown way through a foreign land. So they did. What incredible trust in the Lord! Their improbable “yes”, like that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, enabled them to be agents of grace. Avoiding jealous and bloodthirsty Herod, they enabled Jesus to grow to manhood and teach us how to live as brothers and sisters with one Father.
Were there radical “yesses” in 2020? Absolutely. For instance, Archbishop Vigneron said yes to the Lord’s call to create Families of Parishes, which will increase the synergy and cooperation of parishes. Already, the musicians of the cathedral’s new family have begun discussing how we might offer joint programing, bring our choirs together, cover one another during vacations, and even offer a weekly sung vespers service rotating among the parishes. We wouldn’t be dreaming like this if the Archbishop had said no, let’s just keep going down a familiar path. What seems like a great challenge becomes a great opportunity to grow as the Lord wants us to grow.
My New Year’s resolution for 2021 is to look for where grace is abounding when it seems like sin has the last word. Death, the pandemic, and the spirit of evil will never have the last word. God is working out his purpose in our little vineyard every day. Are we tuned in to his call? Will we say yes?
Under the dominion of His grace,
Director of Music