Where Do You Choose to Live? 2020-1-1 New Years Fr. Roberto
Homily for New Year’s Day – Years ABC
Mary, the Mother of God
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP
St. Dominic’s Church, Los Angeles, CA
January 1, 2020
Title: Where Do You Choose to Live?
Theme: Like Mary we are called to choose to live in the present and to live in God’s will.
Readings: Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21
If you had a choice and money were not an issue, where would you choose to live? How many of you would choose to live in the mountains? How many would choose to live near the ocean? How many would choose to live here in Eagle Rock? How many would choose to live back in the country you came from?
But the idea of choosing where we live, more than being a geographical question, is also an important question about time and about faith. For example, some people choose to live in the past. I once lived with a Dominican who simply could not get over his hurt feelings from something that happened to him, not last year, not five years ago, but in the 1950’s! I lived with him in the early 2000’s, and he was still angry and bitter about it 50 years later. Many people find it hard to overcome the betrayal, abuse, injury and emotional scars they have received in the past. We all carry pains and wounds of these kinds and some of them are very deep. But at some point we need to let go of those hurts as best we can and try to move on with our lives with God’s help and perhaps some professional counseling.
Others live in the past by regretting their own mistakes committed in years gone by and live with regret dreaming about what their life could be like “if only…” Finally, there are many people who live in the past with nostalgia for better times: when a loved one was still alive, when things were different, when they lived back in the old country, etc. It is very normal and natural to be nostalgic at times, and to miss the people, the places and the times that are now gone. But at some point, we have to face and accept the reality of our current situation and try to make the best of it.
Conversely, others of us choose to live in the future. So many people can get caught up in fear and anxiety over things that might happen, whether in the world or in their personal lives. They might be fearful and anxious about war, climate change, a possible terrorist attack or about their own finances, health or family issues or some other situation they might be dreading. Now, once again, we all have uncertainties or situations we might be worried about. And we really should be concerned about and do what we can to address global issues that impact us and others. However, if we choose to live in the future by continually worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong, we will never find the peace that God wants us to have.
So, today, New Year’s Day, the Church gives us this solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Mary is presented to us as a model to follow. She too could have chosen to live in the past – regretting the loss of the quiet, more normal life in Nazareth she could have had before she said yes to being the mother of Jesus. Or she could have chosen to live in the future – fretting about all the challenges of raising the messiah and worrying about what else God would ask of her. Instead, we find Mary simply opening herself up to God, choosing to live not in the past or in the future but in the present, and, most importantly, choosing to live in God’s will.
As we celebrate New Year’s Day today, it is a very good and even a holy thing to look back at 2019 and reflect upon this past year, and then look forward at 2020 and think about what lies ahead, and I encourage all of us to do this. But, as we do so, let us look at the past – at 2019 and further back if we wish – and try to see God’s loving presence in our lives in the good and in the bad. Let us pray for healing from the wounds of the past and for the grace to let them go. Let us pray for the ability to learn from our own mistakes and to move forward in our lives. And let us look to the future, at 2020 and beyond, with confidence, faith and hope knowing that God will be with us through all the ups and downs as he has been with us in the past.
My brothers and sisters, our God is the God of all time: past, present and future. Our God is a faithful God, a God of love. He has never abandoned us and will never abandon us; he will always give us what we need to get through the difficulties that will come our way. God calls us to choose, like Mary, to live in the present moment, to take each day as it comes, and most importantly, to choose to live in God’s will.
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