Exhortations

New Year of Reflection

The New Year is always a reminder of our new hope in life. 2020 is the old year in which we experienced many things; it is the vision of the coming year of serious thought or consideration. So, what will be our response this year, 2021? Do we have to change the direction of our wrongdoing? Is 2020 a big lesson that we need Divine intervention for answers?  

Luke 16: 19-31

“A rich man dressed in purple and fine linen lived in luxury daily. At his gate was a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire.’

 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between you and us so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my Father’s house,   for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so they will not come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them. “‘No, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent. “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “

 The dead do not know anything because the body returns to dust, and the soul that sinned sticks to the ground and awaits a new body to be regenerated until it becomes holy and perfect. No one can be with God and see God without passing the cleansing process because our God is holy and perfect. After the fall of Adam, the begetter of sin, the first person who chose to be separated from God, made us vulnerable to temptation. We can easily sin without much effort and have difficulty doing good work.

Jesus Christ came into our lives and made it easier for us to enjoy life. He taught us to maintain the process of cleansing and preparation to come to our rest so we can meet face-to-face with our Creator, our Holy One. Every one of us has a purpose in life,  and like King David, after serving his generation, he was laid down to rest,  got buried, and his body decayed. Those who died without surrendering themselves to be cleansed will have a life much more miserable. I don’t think I am talking about reincarnation here; I do not think it is all about reincarnation.

We must be regenerated, cleansed, and submit to God with all our hearts and souls. We do not need to wait for the New Year or another time that might be too late. Luke 16 19-31 is a good story that teaches us the lesson about doing good in our lifetime, to be obedient to the will of God that will give us the path to life after death, a reward of everlasting joy.

Jesus requested the Father to send the Holy Spirit, which is how reconciliation works. Our acceptance and accurate submission are necessary to have the indwelling of the Spirit of God. When we accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior, we obey the will of God as stated in John 3:16, and remember that the Holy Spirit is at work and is involved in our activities. At the same time, Jesus sits at the right hand of God, which means his job ended on the cross and is finished as he said. When we fail to acknowledge the Holy Spirit, our new beginning will not commence and will remain in the old ways.

People do not need to die to have a new beginning or to wait for a New Year and have a New Year resolution. Every day is a day to have a new, rewarding life. So repent and be baptized by the Holy Spirit now.

New Year is not just a one-day celebration or a month to welcome our new beginning. Our body is reformed daily, and the Holy Spirit renews our spirit. Therefore, be mindful that we walk with the Holy Spirit in this journey every day.

May the good LORD bless and keep us all safe and secure. Happy New Year!

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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