That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. In the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him followed him, and when they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came to do.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. Mark 1:32-39
2018 was a year of contemplation for me.
Several short weeks ago, as the beginning of a New Year approached, I found myself reflecting on many things; not only which had taken place this particular year, but throughout my lifetime. I realize many people often do this, especially at a close of the year or at a milestone event; but truthfully, I have generally avoided this practice.
Yes, I reflect. Yes, I look back with great fondness on the joy. Yes, I grieve over any disappointments. And yes, I even grow a little introspective.
But I’ve have never really enjoyed contemplating what it all has meant.
And a very Happy New Year to all my fellow Catholics! Yes, Catholics have three chances, not one, to celebrate New Year’s. On the First Sunday of Advent, you will customarily hear parishioners wishing one another a “Happy New Year!” Non-catholics are generally surprised or confused to hear this, until they discover we follow a liturgical year as well as a calendrical one, and the first Sunday of Advent is the start of another annual cycle!
The second New Year’s Day for Catholics is, of course, January 1. When we can join the rest of the world, have a drink, look back with thanks, and look forward with hope and hopefully set off a few fireworks! On this day we will also celebrate again the birth of the Lord, andthe dawn of our redemption by honoring Mary the Mother of God.