On the final day of 2016, John has some intriguing words to share with his readers.
John the Evangelist, that is – two of whose works are excerpted in the readings we hear at Mass on December 31.
The first reading, from the second chapter of 1 John, started this way:
Children, it is the last hour…
A few minutes later, we heard proclaimed the opening lines of the Gospel according to John:
In the beginning was the Word…
An apt liturgical reminder – and all the nudge I needed to turn my heart to gratitude for the many blessings of the past 12 months. Among the most memorable: A mid-summer vacation trip to Scotland, the very same country – I’m told – that gave us Auld Lang Syne, a phrase that means ‘times gone by’…
Looking back through the blog entries I’ve posted since January, it’s clear my own Auld Lang Syne proved remarkably rich in 2016 – filled to overflowing with cherished endings…beginnings… and many ‘milestone moments’ in between.
So in these last hours of 2016, I look back on a handful of my favorite encounters along the way…giving praise and thanks to the Alpha and Omega, from whom all these good things flow.
‘Turn into the wind – the ruach – and the Spirit will take you,’ he said. ‘The Spirit desires to take us to impossible destinations…to places where there is no path…to places we could never get to on our own.’
For me, it called to mind the soul-stirring events of the past seven days. I remembered how, just a week ago, I’d witnessed a dear aunt’s passing. She died last Friday afternoon, just 28 hours or so after her husband had passed away.
Fresh back from the cruise vacation she’d taken with her family the previous week, Hannah greeted me—not with a ‘hello’ or a hug—but with two startling new phrases she’d added to her toddler’s vocabulary. “Take off!” she said to me, her eyes widening with the excitement of the memory. “Fly hooome!”
Every once in a while, you get confirmation that miracles do indeed still happen. Such was the case late last week, when months of intricate planning—and more than a little intrigue and subterfuge—culminated in a memorable birthday event for my dear spouse.
It takes a fair amount of power to wash away 50 years’ worth of grime. A couple of my brothers and I discovered this semi-obvious fact last week when we teamed up to clean a pad of concrete in our mother’s backyard, to prepare for the sale of her home. “Her home”…as in “our home” – the place where we grew up in the 1960s and 70s.
It’s a rare thing when a 2,000-foot precipice catches you by surprise. A rare, beautiful thing.
It was an odd feeling, gazing out over the gentle contours of the grassy acres where my home once stood.
For the most part, our grandson Francis seemed mildly amused by his impending baptism on Saturday afternoon. Then he dozed off, just before the water was about to cascade over his forehead.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.