Sing A New Song: Reflections of a Roman Catholic Woman Priest

As we end the year 2022 we look forward with anticipation to celebrating the coming of the New Year 2023. We also look forward to celebrating the coming of the Magi, also called the three kings, (on Sunday January 8, 2023) to the humble cave housing animals where Jesus, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-18), was born and placed in a feeding trough since there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the Bethlehem inn during the busy tax season.

The joy of Christ-mas lingers with us as we look forward to the new year. Thankful Covid- 19 has lessened, although it still remains, the reunions with loved ones , in person and even by mail and video chats and other social media have warmed our hearts and souls. The special joys of giving have given us strength for the journey. The mutual giving of gifts and eating traditional food brought joy and fond memories.

Though for some of us the Christmas season carried the profound sadness of missing loved ones who once shared Christmas with us and now have gone home to our loving God in the preceding year or before. We felt both sadness and joy at the same time this Christmas. A friend who lost her beloved husband suddenly this year described “getting through” this Christmas as the best she could do. With her young adult children nearby she described their travel plans and the hope of getting through this time of terrible grief together. Their strong family love and feeling the abiding love of their beloved gave them the strength to look forward to the new year. Another friend shared the joys of being with his loved ones during this Christmas season but also the sadness of being alone on New Year’s Eve. Holidays are truly “better together”, even through phone calls and video chats and other forms of communication. This reminds us to reach out to all we can encounter during the Holiday season.

Our hearts are also mindful of those throughout the world who are suffering with hunger and homelessness, and anxiety and fear, especially those in war torn areas like the Ukraine and Ethiopa. We are ever mindful of the realities of nuclear “stand-offs” and posturing that threatens life on the planet. We are also mindful of the tremendous injustice in disparities of income and material goods that remain in the hands of the “top one percent” while those in the lower strata must struggle just to stay alive. And we fear for Mother Earth who bears the burden of our insatiable greed and pollution. We fear that one day not so far away “climate change” will be Climate Catastrophe!”

And yet we are full of hope and expectation as a new year dawns. It is our faith in the love of God,manifest in the birth of Jesus at Christmas that engenders genuine hope. My favorite Christmas poem by Christina Rosetti says it all: “Love came down at Christmas/Love all lovely, love divine;Love was born at Christmas,Star and Angel gave the sign…./Worship we the Godhead. love incarnate, love divine…./Love shall be our token,Love shall be yours and love be mine…./Love to God and to all….”

For us, love is not a mushy sentiment for it is not words but action, as defined by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It is following the example and the lessons of the Christ born in Bethlehem. It is sometimes difficult to love in the face of hatred, indifference and discrimination and oppression, and narcissism. It is sometimes difficult to sustain love when we are rejected as the Christ of Christmas ultimately was. And the troubled world and mean streets Christ came to save are sometimes not loveable at all. And yet we try for we must do anything we can to restore justice and peace in a troubled world. And together all of our actions of love can tip the balance toward bringing God’s kin-dom of compassion, justice and peace into our troubled world so there is enough for every one to enjoy life and contribute toward the common good. Ultimately living a life of love makes life worth living and brings great joy.

Sing A New Song

In this last week of the year our daily readings include Psalm 96 twice, perhaps for emphasis. Let us consider this beautiful Psalm: “Sing to the Lord a new Song; Sing to the Lord all you lands….Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!…(Our God) shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with constancy….”

God has empowered us to enact such justice joyfully. Indeed it is our job to co-create a world of justice, compassion and peace where it too often struggles to exist. For each of us a new song will be different but to follow Jesus it would need to include an increase in activity for others, and in loving actions promoting justice on all fronts for those many groups pushed to the margins. Justice for new immigrants, working against racism, homophobia, false “cultural superiority”, classism, antisemitism, gender bias, age bias, and all forms of subtle ingrained hatred, for such it is even when we do not know it, must decrease while what Christ taught us about love and inclusion increases.

The folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary sang a wonderful song called If I Had A Hammer. They sang with rousing energy of a hammer, a bell and a song that could hammer, ring and sing out freedom and justice and love between our brothers and sisters all over this world. That’s the song I want to sing in this new year. How about you? What is your new song? It may actually be an old song, a song that began on Christmas, and includes challenging teaching, a Cross and resurrection, including our own. May we rise up this year and sing a new song of real love. Here’s to new life and new songs!

Blessings and Hope, Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP Good Shepherd Ministries of Southwest Florida December 30,2022

One response to “Sing A New Song: Reflections of a Roman Catholic Woman Priest”

  1. docrondeau says :


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