2022 Christmas II – Anno Domini, Unum


January 2, 2022

Isaiah 61:1-2

“Anno Domini, Unum”

I’ve titled this sermon, “Anno Domini, Unum.”   Translation: “Year of our Lord, One!” In the Hebrew calendar month of Tevet the Christ Child was born (correspondingly our 25th day of Dec-ember); though some Biblical Scholars think his birth was earlier, March 28th. Whichever the month, his Birth is not only reflected within Christendom, butis also reflectedwithin the history of Western Culture, as it is also throughout much of the secular world.  Honoring the time of his Birth, the dating of years was subsequently accounted as being either‘B.C. (Before Christ) or ‘A.D.’ (Anno Domini, AfterChrist). 

So it is that just over two Millenia ago, the long-awaited Messiah, the Anointed One of God, our Savior Jesus the Christ, was born into the world he came to save.   St. Athanasius of Antioch said: ‘Jesus became what we are that he might make us what he is!’

Thirty years after his birth, inclusive of his early childhood spent in exile of six years in Egypt, and following twenty-four years spent in Nazareth, living with his family, also learning Joseph’s car-pentry trade – Jesus, now age thirty, commenced his ministry among men and heralded his Mission proclaiming: “Repent, and Believe the Gospel.”

The commencingof every New Year is filled with Anticipation and Hope – Hope that things will be better, times will improve, progress is on the horizon, and dreams will come true.   Are any of those above listed hopes included within your dreams and wishes for this New Year?   Could 2022 be the year that lasting Peace finally dawn in far distant regions of the world?  The year that our Nation’s economy and the World economy experience a reasonable and stable recovery?   The unemployed, knowing work is available, may find employment that has descent wages?   That this year see crime decline, in place of escalating as it did over the past years.   And that control is finally gained over Covid and all its potential variants?

As to the Hope that lay ahead: Perhaps in this New Year 2022, will be born a future president of our nation, a future pope, a future outstanding humanitarian!  A future scientist to discover and advance a cure to one or more of the world’s dreaded and deadly diseases: Cancer, Alzheimer’s, or viruses that give rise to world pandemics!

What would you suppose might be the Hope this New Year will hold for each one of us? Realistically we know that if what we do this New year is no different from what we’ve done in past, little if anything will change for the better, nor anything new be achieved!   Realistically we know: Being human, we make mistakes!  Life’s secret is trying not to repeat those mistakes!  Far better to learn from the ones we’ve made, knowing that unless one learns something from our foibles, one is bound to repeat them!   Realistically within this New Year, as in every year past, unforeseen circumstances and situations will occur around us over which we have no control whatsoever!   We can however exercise control over the way we respond to them!

Every New Year affords us the challenge and the incentive to be kinder toward others, to be more thoughtful, to do better, to try harder, to think bigger, to act sooner than later!   Incentive to make more time for family.  To make contact in some way with near-forgotten old friends!   And to make the time and expend the effort to get ourselves back into good physical condition, and to give up those old habits so difficult to break, that we know harm us and harm those around us we love, and essentially to get lives and house in order.   Every one of us has been putting off doing something we have been needing to do or ought to do!  The question is, when is it going to get done if we do not begin working toward it today?

Perhaps the most important item is: What concern we should have regarding our Spiritual well-being and its further development.   How can we bring that house into good order to make it truly more productive and fruitful to the Lord, to others and for our own good as well?   Perhaps we need to return to attending Sunday Mass regularly, if we have only been doing so sporadically!   And to saying our prayers daily, or not just in the morning or evening but in both morning and evening!   And to the daily reading of a chapter, or at least a paragraph of the Bible daily, then taking some time to reflect on what we have read and to consider how we might apply it in our lives.

Anticipation! Hopes! Challenges! Incentives!  The bare fact is: We will notexperience the joy of any of these without the help and Grace of God!   And therefore, our Primary Resolution for 2022 must be: PUT GOD FIRST in our lives, as God himself bids us to do.   Loving the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind (and all our strength).

What a wonderful year this New Year can be, if we are willing and ready to let God transform us into what He wills us to be!   Therein is the Challenge and the Incentive.  Therein is the Hope and the Achievement that awaits us.  Aligning oneself with God’s Will is to guarantee oneself a productive and happy New Year!   May this new year for you be potentially all it can be!