Although the calendar year begins on January 1, this time of the year—early in the Fall season—is more of a “New Year’s” time than the beginning of January. Those of us who went on summer vacations have returned from them; the academic year is now in full swing; and in the parish many programs of faith formation and ministry are beginning again.
At a time of new beginnings it is useful to make a resolution or two, to focus our attention on growing and improving in some specific area of our lives. I love such opportunities to make resolutions; I do it on New Year’s Day, on my birthday, at the beginning of Advent (which begins the Church’s liturgical year), and at the beginning of the academic and ministerial year. To be sure, I do not always succeed in keeping my resolutions, but part of the Good News of Jesus Christ is that he is always ready to help us begin again. Indeed, he became one of us in order to give the entire world a new beginning of grace. Every sacrament we receive (especially the sacrament of Reconciliation) is a new beginning, a renewal and increase of grace in our lives.
A new beginning is a time of opportunities to grow and to improve. This means it is a time for gratitude and hope. Only God knows how great are the blessings he has in store for us if we take advantage of the new beginnings he gives us. Happy “New Year”!