The holidays are nearly upon us. We are going to hear the same music, ads on TV about the same products or “new and improved” ones and we will hear the same sermons at Mass, or your particular services.
What a chore it is to stay focused and not take the same ol’, same ol’ for granted. We struggle to find a glimmer of something new and different.
We can feel guilty about that search because we shouldn’t need anything to motivate or keep our focus on the important things during the holiday season.
I suppose the people of Jesus’ time were thinking along the same lines. The question of “What is new?” is not a new one. Can you imagine for a moment hearing a rumor that this God who has been prophesized for centuries is now here?
The disbelief that Jesus was the true Messiah sounds pretty reasonable to me. I mean, if someone were to come up to me and say, “The King is born,” I will tell you that I would not sit and listen anymore. How can it be that the God of the universe has decided to become human and is born of flesh all for us?
I don’t think if I were God I would bother. I mean just think, you are God and you can do whatever you want. Why would you make people live in this world, in this time, and mess it up?
If you don’t think it’s messed up just read a newspaper. There are people starving, living on the streets, and we say we are caring and loving.
I see the footage from Sudan and cry because there are enough resources in this world, in our state and in our community to supply the basic human needs of human beings.
So, what value does the human person have? Is the value contingent on the financial resources of the community? Perhaps the worth is measured in relation to natural resources in the country.
Hard questions aren’t they? So when I look at the issue of nothing new to attract me, I am quite certain that I am so focused on my gratification that I miss the reason Jesus came.
If we look at humanity across the board and take a step back with honest reflection we will come to the realization that “there is nothing new under the sun,” to quote Job.
History indicates there have always been wars and humanitarian efforts, good moments in human history and not so good immediate moments.
I have a challenge: bring it closer to you. I applaud the works of those committed to mission work in foreign lands and feeding the hungry with wonderful donations. I am asking you to recognize the ones closest to you who are not doing so well.
Gannon University is a mission field full of opportunities to reach out with the hand of God and feed the hungry. Yes, we have students and faculty who are suffering and struggling to make ends meet.
Heidi Briegger Noyes, director of commuter life, has many random items on her desk that students and faculty bring in to help each other out.
There was one day when a student got a pack of soup off Noyes’ desk and commented on how hungry he was and that he didn’t have money for lunch.
There are other ways faculty has helped. I remember last year when I saw professors placing food items in a box that was marked for donations.
We have a wonderful opportunity to help each other in small ways each day. It doesn’t have to be a huge effort; it may be as simple as sharing a meal or perhaps just giving someone a few minutes of your day.
See, I suspect the way we find that glimmer of something new is to change our perspective and look at the world with a different lens. Peer through the lens of the change you make in the world by the changes you make in yourself.
You will have a tremendous satisfaction in seeing the spirit of love at work at Gannon. There is nothing new under the sun; the newness comes from a renewal of our minds.
So, why did God come to Earth and desire to be human? That question has been asked since Jesus’ time and will be asked long after I am dead. I have no answer, but I am thankful he did.