We humans, over a period of time, through the observation of stars and based on seasons, have ingeniously devised a plan to express time in different units such as seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years. While we give due credit to the efforts and wisdom of the so called ‘time masters’ of ancient times for their contribution to humanity, we as Christians must clearly see the master plan of God in giving us the precious gift of time which has the potential to transform us into ‘masterminds’ and ‘masterpieces’ on this earth by utilizing the gift of time in a creative way.
Scripture tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and therefore, we have the responsibility to embrace the precious gift of time and live our lives with strong resolve so that the purposes of God are actualized during our life time and we become what God wants us to be. Eleanor Torrey Powell, an American dancer and actress, once said, “What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” And therefore, we will do well to have a great dream, an exciting plan and a clear vision for our life and for the New Year. Former President APJ Abdul Kalam wanting to impress upon the young people of the need of having a clear vision once said, “Dream, dream, dream! Conduct these dreams into thoughts, and then transform them into action.” Further, “Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep.”
As we accept from the hand of the Lord the gift of time in the form of another New Year, we will do well to commence it with a dream, a vision. Solomon shared such a thought in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” We can drift off into a sphere of distraction when we lack a vision and a sense of mission. Today, there are so many things happening in the world and many activities available for us that can easily distract us from our purpose. So, as persons anointed by the Holy One, we need to remind ourselves constantly that we are called, chosen, anointed and set apart to be the witnesses of the Lord by living enlightened lives especially in these volatile and trying times filled with multiple challenges to our life and mission. These days in our country, we are not only challenged by the ongoing pandemic but also the socio-political situations which stifle life and promote a culture of death for the sole purpose of vote bank politics and craze for holding on to power. But we, as religious persons, are called on not to succumb to the evil designs of a few but exhibit great resilience through our moral authority which is far more superior to the passing passion for power, domination and exclusion drawn from temporary and worldly sources.
Let us therefore, at the beginning of this year resolve to strengthen our person by striving to live in the presence of God who has become Emmanuel – to be with us, journey with us in all that we are and all that we intend to achieve. Let us also consciously decide to grow in the awareness of His love for us and for the world which is the source of our authority and the motivation behind our committed service. As we begin the New Year honouring Mary – Mother of God on the first day of the year, let us take a cue from her to listen to our God speaking in very many ways at this time in history and cherish all things that the Lord presents during this year and willingly surrender ourselves to his guidance and direction.
As Divine Word Missionaries, we are also fortunate to celebrate the life and mission of our founder, St. Arnold Janssen and the first missionary to China, St. Joseph Freinademetz in the first month of the New Year. It seems God in His divine providence has planned well to keep before us these two great witnesses who utilized the gift of time and the gift of life to be faithful ambassadors of God’s love to the world. Both of them, through their preaching and life testimony, persuade us to live in the ever abiding presence of God and trust in his continuous providence so that our best selves are nurtured, faith is enhanced, passion for mission is ignited, and in the process, we are given the grace to live worthy of our calling. In this context, let us take to heart the advice of our founder given to Bishop Anzer, “Above all else, patiently do your duty as a good soldier wherever Divine Providence puts you. He knows why you are there. So don’t fall into the temptation of impatience. Formerly, I myself used to think when I was in Bocholt, ‘Why should I be teaching here? Why not somewhere else, where I could be doing much more for God? …And later on when I was building the mission house it became clear to me that I had been in just the right place to prepare for my future…” We are in the right place, at the right time, for the right mission. All knowing and all loving God cannot make a mistake in his plan for those who love him. Trust Him and decide on the course of action. And this year I will…