Time is like the flowing river, one year flows out and another flows in. The desk columnist of the Catholic Times introduces us to the Latin words Januarius and Janus, from which the month January takes its name. Janus, with his two faces pointing in opposite directions, was the Roman God of beginnings and ends, and fittingly names the month of January, which sees the end of the previous year and the beginning of the new year.
was also known as the God of the gate, the gatekeeper of the heavenly
gate. The columnist describes the new year as throwing off the old and
beginning afresh with new hope and joy. She remembers many words about
bringing in the new year but the most memorable were the words of a
sermon. The priest mentioned that at the beginning of the new year we
should remember the words of Jesus to his disciples: "What I am doing is
sending you out like sheep among wolves. You must be clever as snakes
and innocent as doves" (Matt.10:16).
intention of the sermon was to remind us that though we will have joy
in the beginning of a new year, we need to remember that during the year
we will meet rough and threatening times. There will be challenges, and
the words of Jesus will be helpful in navigating through the year. The
pack of wolves are ready to fight, armed with relativism, secularism and
materialism. We who are Christians have to fight daily against this
culture of death, which will require wisdom and simplicity.
Korean Church has already sent out the warning signals concerning the
dangers we will encounter in society, more so today than in anytime in
the past. There is the glorification of material well-being, and
conflict and division are not decreasing. We cry out for mutual
understanding and compromise, but are most often met with confrontation
and selfish attachment to one's position, and a society that seems
unwilling to deal effectively with the rising tide of suicides and
divorce, the crisis of family life and the problems with our youth.
as serpents and simple as doves is good advice for us to remember as we
go into the new year. Pope Francis has told us in his New Year's
message that the keyword for establishing peace is fraternal charity
among the world family. Since we are all brothers and sister under God,
fraternal love should be a governing instinct in our lives. However,
because of the spread of egotism, secularism and consumerism many are
becoming impoverished and alienated. When we begin to see these brothers
and sister with fraternal love will we not be closer to world peace?
Francis went on to say, in his message on World Peace Day, some
powerful words to remember as we greet the new year. "Fraternity is an
essential human quality, for we are relational beings. A lively
awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each
person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible
to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace...."