And the Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us. -John 1:14
“Children, it is the final hour.” (1 John 2:18a) The Church, in her wisdom, begins our scripture today with this stark reminder. Here we are, sitting in the last moments of 2019. Tomorrow is New Year’s Day – a new decade dawns -2020. Aren’t I supposed to make some resolutions?
I suppose I’d begin by reflecting a bit on these 365 days – the good and the bad – the moments we savor, but also those moments we just don’t want to taste anymore. The more I think, the more I’m reminded of all the insanity of these last months – murder, hate, disaster, and also the “Holiday Season” which is chock full of Black Friday fighting, and “I didn’t get what I want for Christmas,” and what seems like a sorrowful loathing and even anger at just anticipating family gatherings.
It really amazes and saddens me how cluttered our lives, as a society, have become with things like selfishness, consumerism, inconsiderate behavior, lack of understanding of other people, rejection, hate – the list goes on and on. And no matter who we are, we’re all guilty of these things from time to time. I try hard, but, friends, I can be forgetful of my calling and so often fail to live like the man God wants me to be. There’s so much cluttering our hearts that we are just overflowing. There’s no room for anything else.
Again, the Church, in her wisdom, reminds us also that Jesus wants to live with us… with-in us. In reading John’s words in today’s Gospel, “And the Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14 To me, it’s like a slap in the face. “Paul, do you have room?” Is there space in the inn of my heart? Is Jesus able to make his dwelling in me?
Thinking about that, I realize I sure have a lot of cleaning to do.
OK, so, Happy almost New Year! Here are my resolutions:
- Lose Weight: I’m going to drop the weight of hurt and hate, and live the lightness of Joy.
- Clean the House: I’m going to sweep the junk from my mind and soul and make room.
- Stop Smoking: I’m going to stop burning myself up, and allow time to rest and pray.
- Eat Healthier: I’m going to feed my spirit with the healthy words of life.
- Be A Better Person: I’m going to treat every person I meet like they are Jesus; with love and mercy.
How are you going to ready your house for God?
Dear God of new years, thank you for the gift of fresh beginnings. Grant us the grace of a broom with which we can sweep away all that keeps us from recognizing and welcoming you into our hearts and lives. And please, help us all never break our resolution to be closer to you. Amen.
Paul Puccinelli is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Rita Parish in Sierra Madre, California, and a member of the retreat team at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center.