Sunday, December 3, 2017

Happy New Year of Jubilee

Catholics living in Asia celebrate the New Year three times and today is the first of the three. Advent is the beginning of the church year, our first call to begin again, the second comes with the solar new year on Jan.1st and on Feb. 16, 2018  we celebrate the lunar new year which is the real New Year for most Asians.

In the Catholic Peace Weekly one of the writers in his column prepares the readers to make the most of the new year's beginning. From his own personal experience there is the crossing of two emotions. The feeling of gratitude for what was accomplished and on the other hand remorse and feeling of defiency for what could  have been. But with the new there is hope and a new resolution. Of course also some fear and worry but his hope will also be there in first place. Without which we will not be beginning a new year.

Looking back there is little that was accomplished as planned. Most of the problems were caused by himself rather than disrupted by unaviodable cirucumstance. In the family, with peers and in relationship with people the problems were self inflicted but at the same time much was worthwhile and for which he is thankful despite the hesitations and regrets.

Hope is embraced with the new start. It is not filled with anxiety for the future but a joy associated with the specific joy of the birth of the Savior. The new year does not begin with the birth of Jesus but with Advent to give us time to repent for our weaknesses and failures of the past year and prepare for the joy that Jesus has brought to us with his brith.

Moreover this new year begins with the Jubilee Year of the laity. What do we mean by the  Jubilee of the Laity? Is it not  the year in which the laity  with great joy live with the understanding of the meaning of Jubilee? We Christians are disciples of Jesus who are given the task like Jesus to proclaim the Lord's year of favor (Jubilee) Lk. 4:19. A time to liberate, become holy and spread the joy we have received.

For many these words are empty of meaning.The calling of the church is clear. Materialism, searching for pleasure, human rights abuses, contempt for life makes our society increasingly dark. We need to see beyond the darkness. Let's proclaim the Jubilee in all that we do during the year.

Pope Fancis in his visit to Korea in 2014  emphasized this in his call to the Korean laity. He wants the laity to approach first those who are in need of help, and  help them to live a decent life as human beings. The family, the basic unit of society, should be prepared  for this mission with its unity and mission.

Jubilee encourages us to start with courage, joy, hope and conviction it is the wellspring for our mission. We believe in God who is holy, merciful, and loving, the God of Jubilee.

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