Thursday, January 1, 2015
Eul-Mi New Year, begins today. Eul is from the second of the Heavenly Stems, and Mi, the Chinese character for sheep, the 8th animal of the Earthly Branches. This is the beginning of the year of the sheep. In the 60 year cycle we are in the 32rd year which began in 1984. Each year is calculated with a term (Chinese character) from the Heavenly Stems which number 10, and another character from the Earthly Branches which number 12, making 60 different combinations. This is not the solar reckoning, but the lunar calendar which is transferred to the solar calendar for convenience sake.
Both Catholic Papers had an editorial for the readers on the hope we should have for the new year. Of the twelve animals in the Asian Zodiac, Christians would have great sympathy for sheep because of the place they have in our Bible. Right from the first book of the Bible we see that the Israelites began as shepherds and kept that love for the life of the shepherd.
The sheep is a gentle animal, it lives at peace with other animals and does no harm to others and provides us with food, milk and wool. Jesus is called the lamb of God and we know how full of meaning that is for us,
Each year at this time we begin the New Year with hope in our hearts. In fact, it is just like any other day but the sentiments that come with the New Year allow us to think of a new beginning which is always healthy and gives hope. When hope is missing there is no new beginning, and even if the thought should be there there is no meaning. Hope is what supports our life, and the motive force that keeps us moving forward. This is true not only for those who have hope but those who have despaired and lost hope we pray that they regain the hope that will allow them to begin again.
To make sure that our hope is more than a mirage but a hope that gives joy and vitality there are some conditions. We have to remember the past, examine our life, and have a change of heart. Necessary is to see what was done well, and what was not. What was not done well we need to make a firm resolve to change. We have the example of the Sewol tragedy, the many accidents and evil practices that bring us much pain and help us to be motivated to change what needs to be changed.
We also have many good things that we can be thankful for in the past year. The pope's visit to Korea gave us reasons to hope for a better future and the ways to achieve it. Happy New Year to all.