Looking Back With Gratitude And Sorrow

31 December - Christmastide

Seventh Day in the Octave

1 Jn. 2:18-21 & Jn. 1:1-18

Nearly 2,000 years ago John, the Beloved Apostle of Jesus, referred to his days as “the last days” reminding us that one day will be, indeed, the last day, and then a new Earth and Heaven will begin.

John spent many years meditating on how to present to us the life of His Lord and Master. There are two particular subjects in today's Gospel on which to focus and meditate. The first is “the Word was made flesh” which tells us just how much God loved His creation to stoop so low to become one of us. The second indicates the ingratitude of some of us – “He came to His own domain and His own people did not accept Him’’. But there are some who took Him to their hearts and to these “He gave power to become children of God.”

As another year draws to a close there are some questions we must ask ourselves – and answer honestly if we want to know in which of the two groups we belong at present.

Has the end of this year found us in a deeper relationship with each member of the Blessed Trinity, closer to Our Lady, more childlike and simple in our praying, more self-controlled and more caring in our dealings with others? What would be the verdict of Jesus if He were to call us to account today?

Looking back over the past year we can see an unbroken chain of God’s blessings. In the natural order God has kept us alive, whatever with unimpaired health or having to spend time on a painful sick bed. Perhaps God’s providence has seen that our table had sufficient of the necessities of life, while so many in the world suffered hunger and homelessness.

In the supernatural order how good God has been to us! All the treasures of grace were available to us - the Mass, Holy Communion, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the other sacraments we may have needed. Whenever we wanted we could come to church and pray to Him under the same roof as He lives. Truly we have been surrounded with many riches from our Father’s house.

Whatever trials and tribulations we have had to bear we should regard them as the mercies of God, for they give us an opportunity to test and demonstrate our faith.

Reviewing this year should make us deeply grateful to our heavenly Father. How easily we can forget our “Thanks be to God” but on this last day of the year we must not forget.

However, if our account for the past year shows an alarming deficit, we have the consoling conviction that we can still balance our account by humble sorrow. We need not be discouraged, for we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Just One, who makes up not only for our sins, but also for those of the whole world.

Let us then be truly sorry for all the failings of the past year. Let us place them with a humble and contrite heart on the altar of sacrifice. If we take leave of this year with gratitude to God and sincere repentance, we can be ready to face the New Year that lies ahead of us.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for creating us so that we can know You and love You in this world, and be happy with You forever in the next.