Homily for New Year Vigil30 Dec 2019, by Sermons in
In the ancient Roman religion was a god believed to be called Janus; it was the people’s conviction that Janus was two-faced and that he sees the beginning and end of all things. In what looks like an attempt to imitate the sovereignty of our God, the ancient worshipers of Janus held onto their conviction about Janus’ ability to look back to the past and into the future as well. But you and I know as Christians that our God is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He alone is the alpha and the omega; he is the creator of the universe and will certainly share his glory with no other god. He says in Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me, there is no God…” Our God alone knows the past of everyone and shapes the future.
Therefore, on a night like this, when we pass over from the year 2019 to 2020, we are encouraged to look back to the past and then look forward to the future with hope. We should be strong and bold in the spirit like Lions led by the great Lion of the tribe of Judah. It is an African adage that when a Lion stops to look back, he looks not in fear but sees the distance he has covered. Tonight is the night we confidently stop to look back to see how much distance we have covered and to look to the future with the help of God. On a night like this, we make new resolutions, a night we try to renew our commitments to be better people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this move; it must, however, be a true resolution, not to be confused for a wish.
Some may wish they could live a particular lifestyle; they wish they could be men and women of prayer, they wish they could be closer to God but got no will power to resolve to make their wish true. Tonight is not the night to make wishes but to resolve to rise above the mistakes of the year 2019 and step into 2020 with confidence guided by the light of Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary is an example of a truly resolved person; she resolved to give herself to God and said; let it be done to me according to your will. She resolved to surrender herself; she did to the end. All her life, she treasured the word of God in her heart and held onto the power of his presence with great faith.
We need that faith as we get ready to step into the new year to begin another 365 days journey of faith. The end of each year marks the beginning of another, it is a journey of faith, for we know not what it holds, yet we are confident because the Lord is our shepherd, and we shall not want. It is a journey of faith that reminds me of our father in faith, Abraham. Abraham was 75 years old when God called him. The Lord said to Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you… So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. (Gen. 12:1 &4 ). It was a journey of faith, for Abraham knew not where he was going. He was called out of his comfort zone, out of his familiar territory, out of his father’s house and country to an unknown destination. Abraham started the journey with faith because the Lord had said to him, I will show you the land; the Lord was his shepherd.
Like Abraham, we must let the Lord lead the way; we must let him be our shepherd. The Psalmist says, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:1-2&4).
We may not know what the year 2020 holds for us, we may not even know the way into the year, but the Lord says tonight as he said to Abraham; I will show you the way. He may lead us through the smooth road, or a winding road, or the valley of the shadow of death. Wherever he leads, we follow; he will be our protector, and the staff in his hand will be our comfort.
The staff is a symbol of authority, it comforted the prophet Jeremiah, and it will comfort you in the name of Jesus Christ. Yes, the prophet Jeremiah was afraid when God called him (Jer. 1:4-19). But God said to Jeremiah, do not be afraid; I am with you. In vs. 11, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? Jeremiah said I see a rod of almond. Jeremiah saw the symbol of God’s authority, and God said to Jeremiah in vs. 19, They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you.
Do not be afraid, dear friends, to step into the year 2020. The world will fight against you but will not prevail because the Lord is your shepherd.
Tonight, let us look back into the year 2019 like the Lion that stops to look back, to look back, not in fear. Look back into 2019, not minding how bad it was, you may not have covered enough grounds in the out-going year, but your steps will be guided to the abundance of God’s grace in 2020 if you believe.
Like the Apostles handed the five loaves and two fish to Jesus for the miracle of multiplication, let us hand the year 2020 over to the Lord tonight for a blessing. Let our hands and hearts be lifted in praise and thanksgiving for the gift of the year 2020. Amen.