Pope Francis challenges us to be part of a “bold cultural revolution.” He tells us that everything must change. We need a true conversion of the heart, to transform how we think and live.
This Sunday is our last Sunday of the calendar year. It is a time when people will often reflect on the past and make resolutions for the coming year. It certainly has been an extraordinary year. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis challenges us to be part of a “bold cultural revolution.” He tells us that everything must change. Our Holy Father continues to challenge us in 2016 with his call for a “Year of Mercy.” In this call Pope Francis says we need a “true conversion of the heart” and tells us “our doors-those of the heart-must always be open to not exclude anyone.” In both Laudato Si and the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis is calling on us to transform. To transform how we think and how we live.
The beginning of Sunday’s second reading from Colossians 3:12 reminds us about forgiveness. It says: “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” We cannot transform as Pope Francis calls us to if we have malice in our hearts. Paul goes on to say: “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” As we reflect on the past year let us ask ourselves; are we acting out of love or fear? Is our language a language of connectiveness, of wholeness of being or of separation? In Colossians 3:11 Paul says: “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.” If Paul were alive today and wrote that it probably would say something like ‘Here there is not Muslim or Christian, white or black, straight or gay, but Christ is all and in all.’
So as we are making resolutions for 2016 let us not think small. Let’s not waste time with resolutions about losing 15 pounds or exercising more or going to church more. These are all resolutions about “me”. Those are resolutions about what is good for me not about what is good for our common home. Instead, let’s think big and resolve to come together to work together to transform the world and be the Body of Christ connected to all creation, not separate from God’s beautiful and wondrous creation. Resolve to build the kingdom of God here and now and not wait until we die off to some other place.
Have a peaceful, beautiful, transformative New Year. Peace and All Good!
Patrick Carolan, FAN Executive Director, also on the Steering Committee of GCCM