Posted on: 2014-01-02

The 2014 Air of Newness
Happy New Year! How we all love the feeling of newness and freshness! The Scriptures support that feeling: \"Behold, the former things have passed, new things do I declare...\" (Isaiah 42:9, 65:17, Ezekiel 11: 19). January is the time for good wishes, to usher in a good year. It is also the time for what we call \"New Year Resolutions\". Everybody declares a new, better direction in life. Such resolutions disclose the desire of every human being for good values and ideals except for some depraved, twisted souls.
Season of Resolutions
There must be thousands of resolutions for 2014 already in the air. Everybody makes them really. These resolutions are not necessarily always about spirituality. Many resolutions, once made, are broken consistently. Some people have even stopped making New Year resolutions altogether. Such is the \"strength\" of human weakness! Yet resolutions have always been part of human desire to chart a new course at defining moments in life. In the Old Testament, the Israelites made resolutions on different occasions to serve God. (Joshua 24:15).
Take A Different Path
Some resolutions are idealistic and beyond the realistic capacity of those who make them. When traveling you could try reaching your destination by writing down the direction to your destination. Certainly, a better way is to go with one who knows the way. Why not go this year with Jesus then, and make him your companion? He said \"I am the way the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6) Jesus does not only know the way, he IS the way and does more than just show the way (Matt 11:28). Remember the story, \"FOOTPRINTS\" in which a traveler accompanied by Jesus along a beach looked back and queried why at some point there was only a pair of footprints rather than two. The Lord responded that the single pairs of footprints show the time the traveler could no longer go on but was carried by him, Jesus. God himself knew such a companion would be good for us making Christmas occur at the end of one year so that we can travel the New Year with Jesus.
Heal the Fracture of Fraternity
Traveling the year with Jesus ensures we have direction and guidance in moments of confusion or challenges like on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24: John 21). It ensures that sins of human weakness like envy, greed and vengeance do not break our bond of fraternity as children of the same Father (Mt. 20:28). We stay in solidarity, with one another avoiding the sin of Cain who separated himself from his brother Abel, murdered him and had to depart from the presence of God (Gen 4: 1-16).
Fraternity and Peace in the World
This is the New Year message of Pope Francis entitled \"Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace\". On January 1, the World Day of Peace, the Pope x-rays many areas where our fraternity is compromised in these times and civilization. He talked about globalization which makes us neighbours but cannot make us brothers. What makes us brothers is the commitment to fraternity. Christian solidarity sets us on that path. Jesus gave this commandment to us \"Love one another as I have loved you\" (Jn 15:12). Today, humanity rejoices at reaching the moon but often we have failed to cover the distance between us and our neighbour. The Pope recommended the practical and radical application of Christian love and solidarity which sees every human being as an image of God and relates to him as such. This will help to enshrine and guarantee human rights in all we do. It will help to conquer poverty by encouraging sharing. It will help to eliminate religious conflicts, war and indifference when people stop seeing each other as enemies but as brother and sisters. It will also help to stop those who make profit out of human depravity in prostitution, human trafficking, ritual killings etc, and bring about integral human development beyond all predictions and prophesies.
Stoke the Flame of Hope
Things may look bleak now but we must never surrender the belief that human beings can change. God does not wish the death of the sinner but that he converts and lives (Ezekiel 18:23 Jer. 49 10-14). So make the New Year one of joy and hope. Yes, but whither comes the hope? Well, we are still here and God is alive. Let us all play our part. If we walk with Jesus Christ, we form an unconquerable team and everything works out well for those who love God (Rom 8:28). It shall yet be well with us, the Church and with Nigeria at 100! Happy New Year to all!