I am comfortably seated at my PC, coffee at hand and perched at the precipice of a new year. I won’t waste your valuable reading time by venting my spleen over the rigors of 2020. You can find that kind of prose anywhere. I want to ask a question: Where are you going to stand in 2021?
Of plans, resolutions and half-hearted wishes there are many, but there are precious few souls who have a clear, determined resolve to grasp the coming year with a steely-eyed boldness. I’d like to think I’m one of the rare breed who will be venturing out, ready to conquer the challenges which will surely come. That’s what I’d like to think. Oh, I’m sincere enough; I’ve been praying that God will grant me the will to strike out a new and meaningful (there’s that word I love!) course, ready to hold His banner high for all who would follow. Good stuff, right?
Well, the truth is that I am faced with more than enough challenges and an armful of excuses which will, potentially derail me. Where am I going to land in 2021? Here and now I will declare that I intend, with the help of God’s grace, to stand with Jesus Christ and His Church. That last bit sounds a lot like a Prayer of Contrition, and maybe it should be so. God help me to be transparent and earnest in seeking His Face this coming new year, leaving my sins with Him.
We’re almost out of time. Like I said, it’s New Year’s Eve, and the new beckons. In the language of the Greek New Testament, that would be χρόνος (chronos), or, sequential time; what we mean when we say, “It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon”. However, there’s also another variant of time in the same New Testament. It has a more mystical flavor to it. It’s known as καιρός (kairos), which basically signifies an opportune moment within sequential time. God loves to create kairos in our lives. In fact, He specializes in the creation of such.
I’m going to share a reading from Galatians. It’s part of tomorrow’s readings for The Solemnity of Mary The Holy Mother of God, which is a Catholic way of saying, “Happy New Year, Mama Mary! We love you!” For my non-Catholic readers, just know we have a lot of special days in our Church calendar when we like to celebrate Jesus, His special friends and special events. Here’s the reading:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ““Abba, Father!”” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God” (Gal.4:4-7).
Notice the bold print. That’s kairos time! The whole world (or much of it, anyway) recently finished celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, whether they knew it or not, and whether they would admit to it. We Catholics, in fact, are still celebrating Christmas, but that’s another story for another time – chronos to you, kairos for me. Do you see how God fully intended to send Christ at the opportune moment in regular time? Being God, He inhabits eternity, not time, and so it’s all present to Him, anyway. You and I are bound by time; God isn’t. So, the question where you and I are going to stand has already been, in large part, determined by the Father sending the Son for you and me. He won’t force us to stand with Him this coming year, or any year, but to not do so would be, for lack of a better term, inopportune, and that’s putting it mildly. It would be anti-kairos of you and me.
I think we will all have a happy new year if we will be better people. To achieve that will depend on where you and I are standing. I’ll be standing with Jesus. I hear He really knows how to celebrate, and not just one night but for all eternity, which transcends even kairos time since all things will be equally present at all times (See? It’s even hard to talk about eternity!).
When it comes to new ventures, there’s no time like the present. Strike a new course now! Enjoy that celebration, but long after the party is over there will be a life left to live. How you and I live the life we have will be very much dependent upon us. Yes, we have that much power, but don’t forget the One who says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev.21:5).