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This New Year will be a great year
By Dunn Estacio

1/10/2017
On Dec. 14, Pope Francis addressed the general audience, and said: “This Christmas, may we open our hearts to the message of salvation brought by the Christ Child, the Son of God who shows His great power by embracing smallness, weakness and poverty, in order to draw near to each of us.” 

From the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy to the hope experienced during the Advent Season, much has occurred within our Church.
The beauty and magnitude leading up to the birth of the Lord is so great that Christmas is celebrated, not just for one day, but for 16 days, which ended with the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 9. Amid the catchy music, family memories and delicious food, the Church called us to a time of peace to remember that the reason for the season is the Christ Child.

Now that 2016 is behind us we look to another year, and many of us go through the ritual of making a New Year’s resolution. For many of us, this looks like going on a special diet or beginning a certain exercise regimen to shed the pounds we packed over the holidays.

For teens, this can look like being on social media less? While this is not bad in itself, have we examined our spiritual lives to see the excess that needs to be cut out?

Currently, we are in Ordinary Time of the liturgical calendar, and it is a season that we can devalue because we may not know much about it. The "ordinary" in Ordinary Time comes from the word "ordinal" or counted because it is a counted season that focuses on the teaching and ministry of Jesus Christ.

This can be seen as the Church focuses the Gospel readings on Jesus’ public ministry. Thus, Ordinary Time is not a period to be lazy in our faith life; rather, it can become an integral time to look into our relationship to Jesus Christ in a deep way. How am I living out my faith? Do those around me know that I am disciple of the Lord? What are ways in which I can continue to grow in loving my neighbor?

As we prepare for the upcoming months of 2017, Jesus Christ wants us to know that He is with us in our trials and joys. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Maybe we will not accomplish our New Year’s resolution. If we don’t shed those five pounds, we will be okay.

More importantly, let us focus on bringing Jesus Christ to our work places, schools and communities during this new year. Let believing and sharing the Gospel in a more Spirit-filled and passionate manner be our resolution. Let 2017 be a time for more consistent and faithful prayer. Let 2017 be a time to more fervently serve the needy around us.

2017 will be a great year because, as Pope Francis said, it will be an opportunity to be like the Christ Child — small and weak. In the insignificant and ordinary moments of our life, let us invite our Lord to be alive and present.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You! 

Dunn Estacio is an associate director of the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.