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Homily For New Year (2020)

31 Dec 2019, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

With a grateful heart, I stand before you all to thank God for the amazing blessing of this New Year; God is indeed merciful to let us be counted among the living. To him be glory forever.

God did not create us to flounder or to wander in the world; he is our God and shepherd, and we, his people. He continues to guide and lead his people in the light of his word; he spoke to Aaron through Moses, teaching him to bless his people. “You shall say to them, The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

St. Paul reminds us in our second reading this morning that we have been made sons and daughters of God through the incarnation of his Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have the right to share in the Aaronic blessing. We have been given the confidence to cry out, Abba, Father! Bless and keep us in this year 2020, let your face shine upon us and be gracious to us, lift your countenance upon us and give us your peace.

God did not bring us to this year to destroy or abandon us; by his mercy, we begin the year, and by his grace, we shall see its end.

As the Lord has allowed us to see the light of this year, let every step we take count, and each day bring us closer to God. It is not by chance that we are alive; the Lord has a purpose for every one of us. Let us not be afraid to look back to 2019 to see the hills and mountains we had to climb, the seas and rivers we crossed, and the so many battles we fought. This “look back” is not to elicit or provoke fear but thanksgiving to God who was, who is and who is to come. We did not create the year 2020; he who created it and brought us into it has power over it. Therefore, we step into this year to begin another journey of three hundred and sixty-five days with confidence, with the assurance that the commander of the heavenly army goes before us.

Luke tells us in our gospel passage this morning that “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” She held onto every word of God; in moments of turbulence and moments of joy, she held onto the word just as Joshua was encouraged never to let the word depart from his mouth. By it, you shall succeed, Joshua was told (Joshua 1:8). Treasure the word of God; treasure every word the Lord has spoken about you. The Lord does not speak in emptiness; his word does not go empty. Like the shepherds who heard the message from the angels and went in haste to Bethlehem to see the manifestation of the word, so we must walk into the manifestation of every word the Lord has spoken about us. Do not forget you’ve been given the right and power to invoke God’s blessings upon yourself and your entire household. As the Lord spoke to Aaron through Moses, so he speaks to us this morning saying, this is how you are to bless yourself this year; O Lord bless us and keep us, make your face shine upon us and be gracious to us, lift your countenance upon us and give us peace.

The year 2019 is gone; we may look back to it but certainly not to move backward. If it was a prayerless one, 2020 must not be the same. If it was good, then it can be better in 2020. In this year, 2020, we are not going back to “Egypt.” By the power of God who goes before us, we shall climb every mountain and cross every sea and river; we shall surmount every obstacle to claiming the victory we have in Christ Jesus. The promised land is ours; only be courageous, and like the Blessed Virgin Mary, treasure the word of God and ponder it in your heart.

May this year be for us a year of victory! Amen.