We’re beginning a New Year. What will it be like? Some people don’t want to even think about it. If we limit ourselves to political squabbles, terrorist attacks, storms and floods, racial tensions we wont find much to hope for. The commentators and talk shows are pretty pessimistic. Can anyone help us look ahead?
How about Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom we honor today?
Mary didn’t see far into the future in her own lifetime. She didn’t have a lot to go on when the angel left her in Nazareth. She was a woman of faith, rather than sight, but faith in the future might the greatest gift she gives to us, a faith based on God’s power and not ours, a faith based on God’s love, God’s faithfulness and not ours.
Pope Francis quoted this prayer in his address to his advisors last year. He invited them to look into the future with faith. God’s plan is unfolding, even if we don’t see it. We can recognize Mary’s thoughts in the prayer.
“Every now and then it helps us to take a step back and to see things from a distance.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is also beyond our visions.
In our lives, we manage to achieve only a small part of the marvelous plan that is God’s work.
Nothing that we do is complete, which is to say that the Kingdom is greater than ourselves.
No statement says everything that can be said. No prayer completely expresses the faith.
No Creed brings perfection. No pastoral visit solves every problem.
No program fully accomplishes the mission of the Church.
No goal or purpose ever reaches completion.
This is what it is about: We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that others will watch over them.
We lay the foundations of something that will develop.
We add the yeast which will multiply our possibilities.
We cannot do everything, yet it is liberating to begin.
This gives us the strength to do something and to do it well.
It may remain incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way.
It is an opportunity for the grace of God to enter and to do the rest.
It may be that we will never see its completion,
but that is the difference between the master and the laborer.
We are laborers, not master builders, servants, not the Messiah.
We are prophets of a future that does not belong to us.”