A Happy and Healthy New Year to all my readers!
There is a greater need than ever for genuine spiritual and active renewal that would lead us into harmony with one another and avoid the ravages of evil. Let us make this our new year’s resolution: to be sensitive to what God has implanted in our hearts and to listen to his WORD and to act on it. This is the good news for everyone in spite of all the bad news today. Begin with yourself and keep it “local.” You don’t have to flit around the world attempting to solve all its problems. Bloom where you are planted. A weed is nothing more than a flower or plant out of place. Find your own place where you live and where you can do the most good.
Take that first step to reform your life, to make your environment a better place to live in, and work in. The greatest problem we face is apathy when good people do nothing but stand idly by while things crumble around them. You matter, and you can make a difference. I learned this lesson well when I was a young priest in Ireland, and set out to build a well-needed home for disabled children in County Sligo, and a home for seniors in County Kilkenny. Armed with nothing but good will, I was amazed how people responded by donating their skills, their money, and whatever else they could muster to build these facilities, debt-free. I learned that if I hadn’t taken the plunge back then, these facilities would not be standing there today. So, don’t just talk. Do something, and surprise yourself.
On this New Year, the voices of people of good will are calling us to peace, self-improvement, and brotherhood. These can be mere words and idle rhetoric unless you are able to make a real difference by putting your own house in order and working with others to create a better world.
We are living in what is called a ‘pluralistic’ society; that is, a society or world made up of different cultures and beliefs. This blog is an example of the extent of this pluralism. People of different cultures and beliefs are reading these messages daily.
We have so much in common, and we are all searching for the truth, and for good news that binds us together, in spite of our differences. Let us begin with ourselves this new year by becoming better people, and by helping one another. Whenever you reach out to feed the hungry, whenever you clothe the naked, whenever you give drink to the thirsty, and whenever you help those in need, you are putting into practice the essential good news of the Gospel, and by this you will be judged on the last day (Matthew 25:31-46).
You can start your new year by helping someone in need. It could be a family member, it could be a neighbor, it could be a charitable organization that helps the poor. I have found it very gratifying and fulfilling, in my retirement from parish administration, to work for Cross International, an organization that helps the poorest of the poor in forty countries throughout the world. We cannot solve all of the world’s problems, but we can make a difference when we do our part in our own environment and where necessary, in other parts of the world, to help our brothers and sisters in need.
Cherish those gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love that make you a better person by putting them into practice. May you always take care of one another and be at Peace.
A happy and peaceful new year to you.
Fr. Hugh Duffy