A New Year: Could this be the year to change everything?
A new year has dawned upon us. A book filled with blank pages lays in front of us waiting to be filled with events yet to occur. In the midst of the uncertainty we face, it is at times impossible to dream of amazing things we can do in 2021. Would you agree? I certainly feel this way. Often as we begin a new year, I dream about all the places I would like to visit and all the exciting things I would like to embark upon. It doesn’t appear to be something I can hope for this year.
Whilst pondering upon this, I realised that although we are geographically restricted to a likely quiet year. This year has the potential to be one that changes everything. A year that can change each of us and take us to the most beautiful place. This year could be your encounter with Jesus. This year Jesus could turn your life around ! Could you embark on such a journey ? I outline below important questions we should ask ourselves in 2021. I invite all of you to sincerely ponder the following questions.
Do you know Jesus?
This is perhaps the most important question, yet the most difficult to ponder. We may all think we know Jesus but… DO WE?
“Well what do you mean Jubia ? Of course I do. I am catholic. I go to mass every Sunday. I say the rosary every night. I know Jesus !!”
The above may be the response running through your minds right now. But REALLY!… Do you know Jesus?
Do our hearts beat longingly for Him and His presence in our lives every moment of the day?
When one truly knows Jesus, He becomes the one person we cannot live without. A few moments of not being able to communicate with Jesus pains the hearts of one who truly knows Him. It is a love that transcends words. It is a deep love whereupon, the simple thought of hurting Christs’ heart pains our soul. The love is soo deep that you share everything with Jesus and abandon everything in His arms. The love is anchored soo great that you even know the way Jesus communicates with you. Jesus become your everything, you become aware of His infinite love for you and you sense His presence throughout your days.
Could we put our hands upon our hearts now and say with confidence that we know our Lord? We all fall short don’t we? Can we ever grasp Jesus’ love for us? Can we ever love Him as much as He loves us?
Maybe this year we can make a decision to love Jesus a little more deeply and with renewed love we can echo St. Augustines words “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you…”
Do you love the eucharist?
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. As catholics we are truly blessed. There are soo many of our Christian brethren, in other denominations, who love Jesus but do not have the EUCHARIST. They can’t experience Jesus beyond thought, emotion and knowledge. BUT WE CAN BE INTIMATELY CONNECTED TO JESUS. Isn’t this amazing?!
Every time we receive the Eucharist, we are welcoming into ourselves the precious body and blood of Jesus. This is the treasure Jesus left us and the one thing Jesus asked us to do. St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (10:16) states this ‘The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?’.
The sacrifice of calvary happened once but this needs to be consumed for it to be fulfilled. God didn’t intent for Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection to happen and that be all. God wanted it to change us and transform us to become truly who we are mean’t to be. For this Jesus humbles Himself not only to the cross but willingly enters into the unworthy bodies of His children, to allow them to be united with God. Hence, He waits in that tiny host with His heart beating in love for us.
Are we worthy of this love? How many times have we attended Holy Mass and received ‘Our God’ and not comprehended that Jesus has entered us. We are soo accustomed to it, that we don’t even realise just how magnificent the moment of Holy communion is. Do we ever say, “welcome Jesus” or “ I love you Jesus?” Oh, how many times must we have hurt Jesus’ heart!
This year, we should ask Jesus for the grace to recognise Him and love Him, every time we receive the Eucharist.
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19.
Do you know what it means to be a catholic?
The greatest challenge the Catholic Church faces is that she encompasses members who claim to be Catholic but have no clue what Catholicism is nor what the Church teaches. There are some Catholics who simply don’t care, love or respect the Bride of Christ. I always wonder just how much this must hurt the heart of Jesus.
We dear friends, are the Body of Christ! When we fail to stand up and build up the very bride which Jesus, our saviour, bought with His blood, we are failing miserably as Catholics. The Catholic Church was established by Jesus Christ, on St.Peter (the rock), our first Pope. This is faith of the apostles. This is the faith of the early christians. This is the faith that our ancestors died for. This is faith that all the Saints in heaven gave up their lives for. This is true Christianity and the one teaching vessel which has ,until this very day, taught the truth of Jesus Christ without error.
Now you friend! God chose you to be a part of His family, through Baptism. Don’t you want to know your family? Don’t you want to know what your family teaches and stands for? Don’t you want to know its history? Maybe this year, instead of focusing on the problems in this family, which are many since we are sinful humans, why not glance upon its beauty and truth! Because you see, those who have gone before us are counting on you. So don’t waste your time this year.
The difficulty explaining why I am Catholic is that there are 10,000 reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. ~G.K. Chesterton
Do you truly live as a son/daughter of God ?
We can all claim to be followers of Christ and we may on the surface be devout. We may be very active in our church ministries. Perhaps, we are the first to agree to spend hours in adoration. The latter are all very important parts of being a catholic, please do not misunderstand me. We need to be actively involved. We need to be prayer warriors for the faith. However, if we do not truly live and act as christians should, then what profit do we really gain?
There are many catholics who are regular church goers but are jealous of their friends. There are many who ,upon anger, wish ill for their neighbour. There are many who do not care for the needy but only for themselves. How can we possibly look upon the face of Jesus Christ and act contrary to how He would act? How could look upon the face of love and do things that would hurt Him because through hurting others we are wounding Jesus’ heart.
This is the greatest challenge to us since we are called to imitate Christ. Jesus said “Follow me…”. We aren’t truly following Christ if we are not even for a second trying to be like Him. This should be our challenge this year. We should repeatedly ask ourselves, “Am I being like Jesus to others around me? Do others see Jesus in me?”. Likewise, before we do something just to gratify our anger, jealousy or self interest, let’s think about the face of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.” ~ St. Anthony of Padua
Do you love Mother Mary?
Jesus gave us the most precious gift of His blessed Mother upon the Cross.
When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, “Woman behold your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into His home (John 19:26-27).
Can we just ponder this for a moment. Just how amazing must Mary have been that Jesus gave her as a mother to all of us!
When Jesus looked down from the cross, He saw John standing there. In John, Jesus saw an ache and a helplessness in understanding God’s will. Jesus knew that the only way to soothe this ache was a maternal love so strong and faithful. Aren’t we all like John?! How many times do we feel helpless and struggle to understand God’s plans. On that day, Jesus saw in John the faces of each one of us. Thus, Jesus gave us His mother to guide us in our spiritual journeys. Mary is full of grace. She is God’s beloved. Mother Mary knows what it’s like to submit to God’s will.
We need to turn to our mother this year. Let her guide you. Let Mary teach you how to better love her Son since she knows the heart of Jesus. I can assure you, our dear mother will never let us down. Trust in her care and she will guide you towards heaven.
"Before, by yourself, you couldn't. Now, you've turned to our Lady, and with her, how easy!” ~St. Josemaria Escriva
Like you, I too am learning and growing. I am by no means perfect, in any of the points I have discussed above. I fail all the time but I hope, this year, that I can be a better daughter of God. Are you ready to better love God this year and let Christ turn your life around too?