Sirach 24:1-4, 8-12; Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18; John 1:1-18
"Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy."
These words of Abraham Heschel may seem to some an exaggeration. Yet today's readings echo this truth and present a crucial perspective for entering this new year.
John's Gospel states most simply and starkly: "All things came to be through him and without him nothing came to be."
Paul applies this truth to human dignity : "God chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before him."
The ancient Christian Nicene creed (325) affirms the identical truth: "We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth."
St. Ignatius of Loyola introduces his month-long reflection on Christian life simply: "Human beings are created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord and by means of this to save their souls. The other things on the face of the earth are created for the human beings to help them in the pursuit of the end for which they were created."
But it must be acknowledged that these basic Christian beliefs contrast starkly with the secular view of reality common in our culture. The secular mindset — though it may acknowledge the existence of God — sees God and religion as peripheral to human existence and ignores the religious perspective in daily living.
Do our New Year's resolutions include the desire to live more fully our religious convictions in 2014?
Remember: "Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy."
By Dick Hauser