I was recently conversing with a priest about a parishioner, Evelyn, at his parish who was turning 101 years old. We were discussing just how many changes had occurred in her lifetime and even our own. She has seen the rise of flight, the fall of communism. She had experience the advancement of computers, the recession of the stock market. The death of the horse carriage and the birth of self-driving cars.
With the new year, I begin thinking about all the changes I have seen in my few decades on this earth: The invention of the internet, the changes creation of a musical style called “ska” and the summer of pogs. We all live in a constant experience of change.
As each new year begins, we often look to the past to see where we were and to the future to see where we are going. While we all know with our minds that to live means that there will be changes, it is a challenge to live out those changes. As humans we long for something solid on which we can put our feet, something consistent that will be a rock for us in our lives...and far too often, we are left adrift. We desire a place where we can find a harbor and anchor our lives which will be a stable home.
This longing for all to have something consistent is a God-given desire, but what we often fail to remember, is that desire can only be fulfilled in God Himself. It is essential for all Catholics, all Christians to hear the words written in the Letter to the Hebrews. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8). That short phrase is both a statement of encouragement and a challenge.
Is it an encouragement when I want something onto which I can grasp, when I feel out of place, when I think that all is disorder. Remembering this reality and returning to Jesus gives me that stable rock on which to stand.
This statement is also a challenge. It is a spiritual challenge to all of us to review our lives and ask: “Is Jesus, always and everywhere, the center of my life?” We must remember to keep Jesus as the bedrock of our lives. Jesus reminds us in a parable of the wise man who built his house on rock, on that which is immovable, so that his house, his life, would not be shaken when the winds and rains of change occurred (Matthew 7:24-27).
Everything else can be changed, either by ourselves or by circumstances outside of our control. Thus, we will never find our contentment outside of Him. I am reminded again of those famous words from St. Augustine, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” (St. Augustine, Confessions).
As we enter into this new year, it is essential to remember that it will only be Jesus Christ who will be the constant and it is only Jesus Christ who is our life and our all. May God bless you in this new year and may you always remain in Christ.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte