Fr. Michael's Thoughts on Biblical Imagery: A New Beginning

FR MICHAEL BIBLICAL IMAGERY

(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)

A NEW BEGINNING

            As we start a new Liturgical Year we remain thankful to God for seeing us through the previous year. The last liturgical year has inked itself in the annals of history as the liturgical year that Christian Faithful could not publicly celebrate the heartbeat of Christianity – Easter. I have never witnessed a liturgical year without Easter celebration and our older folks have similar accounts to give. But the year has pass and gone and by the grace of God we begin a new year with “a new beginning.” This liturgical year brings a new beginning because we have hope in our fight against Covid-19. By the grace of our merciful and loving Father three groups (Pfizer, Moderna, and Oxford) have announced the discovery of vaccines. The effectiveness of Pfizer and Moderna is rated at 95% while Oxford gives their own at 70%. This is a hopeful news for a new liturgical year; at least we are hopeful that we can celebrate Easter this year. Please as you read this can you pause and say a short prayer of thanks to God for this breakthrough?

            Today’s readings remind us to be watchful. The Church year begins with the Gospel call for vigilance, since the time of the Lord’s coming is uncertain. All Christians are addressed by the single challenge: “I tell all of you: Be on guard!”

            It is certain that Christ will come again. Jesus tells us so in several passages of the Gospels (e.g., Matthew 25:31-46). We also say in our Creed that we believe “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. We do not know when he will come again. Rather curiously, not even the angels nor indeed the Son knows the day or the hour. Only the Father knows (Matthew 24:36). It may be tomorrow. We may just wake up tomorrow, and it is the day. Or it may not be for may millennia to come. No one knows.

            Since the Son of Man will be coming to judge the living and the dead, and we do not know when he will come, the only wise attitude to adopt is to “stay awake”; that is an attitude of perpetual vigilance, being constantly on the watch, so that the Second Coming does not take us unawares, completely by surprise. Then we should be ready to face the judge when he comes, and have nothing to fear in his presence.

            The second reading says that the Lord has equipped us perfectly for this work, by means of the charisms (“gifts of grace”) that God has given us for the interim during which we await the “revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ”. We do not wait idly, rather, we wait by employing the gift that was given us for action. The gift is a freely given “richness of everything in him”; the asserts for “knowledge”, “witnessing”, and “speech” must yield their anticipated return. Nor does God look idly down on our work – he actively works with us by “fortifying” us when we are uncertain or tired. We will not lack for aid from him if we only keep at the work assigned us. But do we do that? Is our busy time employed to build up what God has given us to do or must we not rather join the prophet in the first reading in a lament, an outcry that has to be sounded precisely at the beginning of the Church year?

            I hear that the Covid-19 vaccination will begin in some parts of the world on 11 December 2020; we thank God for this hopeful day. But I will strongly advise that we take lesson from the Gospel and be vigilant and stay awake so that an “evil” disease like Covid-19 will not visit us again. If we embrace the culture of vigilance, it will not only help us healthwise but also prepare us spiritually for the Second Coming of Jesus.

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