January 3, 2013
2013 The Year of Optimism or Faith?
Luke 17:5-6 “The Apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’! And the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.”
The simple act of removing the last year’s calendar and replacing it with the new 2013 calendar gave me pause to reflect on some of the events of the past year, and also filled me with a renewed sense of hope for the future. One magazine recently called 2013 the “Year of Optimism”. The author of the article wanted to remind people that even though the world is plagued by seemingly insurmountable problems, the world is actually a much better place than say, 50 or 500 years ago. The writer then listed the reasons why the “age of progress” in which we live is so amazing, and reasoned that as Americans, we still live in a great nation, one for which we should be thankful. After reading the article, I agreed that I would not want to live anywhere else than in the USA. Americans are a resilient and courageous people who usually respond very generously to fellow Americans and other people who are suffering.
However, instead of “optimism”, I much prefer the call from our Holy Father! Pope Benedict has called all Catholics to celebrate this year as the “Year of Faith”! The Holy Father says that, “The Year of Faith…is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord…. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This standing with him points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes…” (Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei).
If we are faithful to what God has given us, even if it is tiny, we can move mountains! We are not alone trying to accomplish great things on our own initiative and strength. It is God who works through us and in us, supplying every need as we go through trials and the most severe challenges. Looking at a photo of the crowds of people at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, CN this week reminded me that WE NEED FAITH more than ever, not simply optimism. Our good intentions and “can-do” attitudes may help us achieve some of our goals, but it is only through our faith in a loving and merciful God that can help us persevere through the fear of suffering and death. We are all vulnerable in some measure to the evil in the world, but we are not conquered! As Catholics, we have 2000 years of Faith and Tradition that testifies to the truth that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life!
At Holy Family Academy, we are blessed indeed to be able to celebrate our Catholic faith every day, in hope, peace, and the love of God as exemplified in the Holy Family. Even if our faith is only the size of a mustard seed, if we rely on God for everything in our lives, we are assured of eternal life with Him. What more could we hope for?
I believe that 2013 will be a blessed year because my Catholic faith tells me so. We may suffer from sickness, pain, disappointments, violence, set-backs of all kinds, and from our own sinfulness. But by the grace of God, our faith in will become stronger, and our witness for Christ more brilliant than it has ever been! Have a faith-filled new year in Christ!