By: Rick Hernandez
Here we are, once again coming close to the end of another year. But this year has not been like other years. 2020 has been very trying for most of us. We have been mostly isolated and kept from many of our social interactions, at one point even away from our Church.
As a Eucharistic person, being away from the community of the Church and away from Communion is very difficult. We are forever grateful for our faithful priests that made the Eucharist available to us in accommodating and imaginative ways. Drive-by Communion? Yes, that became a thing. Who would have thought that was going to happen? There have been stress and fear, loneliness and sadness, and also profound loss and grief. We have lost so many of our brothers and sisters to this dreadful disease. We have to both acknowledge and remember that. But there has also been great love and mercy. There have been great moments of surrender and growth in humility. Are we remembering that we depend upon God’s mercy? When we remember this, our time of quiet prayer becomes a purposeful offering of faith. Through our faithful actions, we glorify God and bring about that union of purpose that we are required to have as followers of Christ, that others, especially the ones closest to us, may recognize His love for us and believe in Him.
“I pray not only for them but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
Let us consider well that there will continue to be plenty of opportunities for self-reflection, for edifying solitude, for separation from the busyness of regular life, and for connection in prayer to the One who loves us. For us, the faithful, we trust that we are never really alone. He is always accompanying us. “...behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)
Now, we are almost at Christmas, and we have to ask ourselves if we are taking the time to diligently prepare ourselves to commemorate the birth of Our Lord and Savior. Are we thinking about what the incarnation of Christ Jesus means to our lives, even amid everything that has happened? Are we taking time to meditate on the extent of Our Lord’s love for us? Let us think about that for a few minutes. The Creator of everything that is and will ever be loved us so much that He gave us His son, our Lord, so that we may be redeemed.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
Our Lord already knew of every challenge that we would have to face and told us that we can meet them well, for He is with us. To all of us that are here on this Earth today, are we feeling hopeful? We can see that the future is starting to look brighter. A slight return to normalcy may be upon us in due time. Still, we must consider what this year has meant for all of us. For all the ones we’ve lost, we must remember and pray. Hope works that way.
Let us pray. Lord of Heaven and Earth, as we come upon the Christmas season in this trying year, we ask for your mercy towards us. Help us to keep our Hope strong and steady. Help us to make our Faith visible, to help strengthen all of those around us. May your love reign brilliantly around the world. Amen.