By Father Joseph Homick
Well, here we are at the beginning of 2012. Every time a new year arrives, I marvel that I am still here, because for some reason I have the impression as each new year arrives that it will be my last. It seems that quite a few people are expecting the world to end this year, though I suppose there are some people somewhere that are expecting the world to end every year. Though we do not know the day or the hour, I think it is not likely that the world will end in 2012. Judging by the evidence of the past 4.5 billion years of the earth’s existence, the odds are against it (note too that every prediction of the imminent end of the world, without exception, has thus far proven quite obviously false). Yet the world will end this year for approximately 55 million people, who will leave this world by dying before we ring in the next new year. (You can help save at least a few of them by clicking here.) So if we cannot cry out “the end is near!” for all without exception, we can do so for quite a few, many of whom are probably not expecting this at all.
What is all this supposed to mean? Don’t ask me; I haven’t yet figured out why my heart is still beating and how I managed to get out of bed this morning. But it does seem to indicate the precariousness of this life and hence the necessity of not being heedless of the life to come and the account we will have to make to God when there are no more new years left to us in this present world.
What, then, shall we do with the time that remains? We see often in the Bible the exhortation, “Sing a new song unto the Lord!” I think maybe we should do that this year. I’m guessing that God is probably growing just a tad weary of the “same old song and dance” that we present year after year. Maybe we should do something different this year.
What are some of the ways in which we can sing a new song to the Lord in 2012? Well, you have to look at your own experience and examine your own conscience, but some general suggestions apply to most of us. Are you, for example, holding a grudge against someone? Do something new—get over it, forgive and move on; you’ll have more peace and God will be pleased with the melody of this new song. Do you tend to overeat or overdrink or overspend or over-anything? OK, stop all that. Sing a new song. Practice some self-discipline, get some outside help if you need it, and use whatever you save to help the poor, who can’t afford to over-indulge in anything.
How about the under-stuff? Do you under-pray, under-fast, under-bless, under-thank, under-serve, etc? Time to sing a new song; time to get your priorities in order and put the Kingdom of God and his righteousness first. These things aren’t just “helpful hints”; they are essential for the health of your soul and hence for your preparation for eternal life. Hey, who says you’re not going to be one of the 55 million who will “cash in and check out” sometime this year? Don’t kid yourself; it’s later than you think.
Look at other stuff, too: the way you relate to family, friends, co-workers, etc, what you do for your own enjoyment versus what you sacrifice for the sake of others, what corners you cut for convenience’ sake. There’s a lot of housecleaning to do, if you turn on the lights and look around. Lots of new songs to learn!
I’m going to keep this post short. After all, you might not be feeling too well after the weekend’s excesses. All the more reason to realize that the same old song and dance just don’t work for the long haul. Think about the new song you’d like to sing unto the Lord, or better yet, ask Him what new song He would like to hear from you. Whether or not 2012 is going to be the last year for you or for us all, by God’s grace and our determined efforts to please Him, it can indeed be a very good year.