1 John 2:18-21
"Children, it’s the final hour." (I John 2:18a)
That’s the first line of today’s Liturgy of the Word. I can just imagine the editors of the Lectionary all sitting around a big table, worn from working into the wee hours of the morning, empty carafes of coffee and donut crumbs laying all over the place. Some guy is asleep under the table, I’m pretty sure. "They’ll need to be reminded that it’s the last day of the year. Let’s use I John 2:18."
Perhaps they’re right. Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas… The time has raced by for me. The Baptist’s cry of "Prepare Ye the Way" has now become "I hope you’ve prepared the way." And now I feel a lot like I imagine those editors: weary from a long stretch of preparation and service.
And now it’s New Year’s Eve! Party and dance and music and eggnog (with a little extra nog, please). Wait; where did 2014 go? I had all these plans for things I was going to accomplish. Where are my running shoes; I have to get in shape. I promised 365 days ago! Where’s my pencil; I need to finish composing that choral work on the Cross, which I started in February! Where’s my paintbrush; the house…
But wait, there’s more. As I sit and reflect on the past 365 days, I’m forced to ask The Question: Did I make room for God? Did I let Christ thrive in my heart? Did I reach out in love and care to others? Did I call to apologize to that person that now hates me? Did I forgive that person that betrayed me?
Was I Jesus’ hands to those in my little part of the vineyard?
Dear God of beginnings and endings, the Alpha and Omega, thank you for the gift of every hour, even this last one. Please grant us the grace to let go of our regrets and failures so we may live the new dawn of tomorrow, and birth your love to the world.
Paul Puccinelli is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Rita Parish in Sierra Madre, CA, and a member of the Retreat Team at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center.