The start of a new year gives us time for reflection. A time to look back over the last 12 months, to give thanks to God for the memories which we will cherish, and to recognise his loving presence in our lives. It is a time for us to gather all the experiences of the last year and offer them to the Lord.
As we look forward in hope to the months ahead, it is a time of renewal, a time of resolutions and new beginnings. We give up on new year resolutions, they fade and are gone, often before the end of January, yet we must always remember that God does not give up on us; He is ever present in our lives.
At the start of a new year we offer the days and months ahead to the Lord, recognising that he will be with us on our journey giving us strength for the time ahead.
The days are still short and the nights long, but we look forward with optimism. The author of the Song of Solomon speaks of the flowers appearing on the earth, a time of singing, and the voice of the turtledove being heard. In the darkness of the winter months we long for summer, for light and long days. In just a few weeks' time spring will be here and we will see signs of new life around us.
The coming year is a significant one for the Catholic Church in Liverpool as we journey towards our Synod 2020 meeting in October. Our prayer, reflections and discussions have been taking place under the banner of ‘Together on the road, becoming the Church we are called to be’. In the months ahead we can take this to ourselves by praying that in the coming months we will journey with others and become the people God has called us to be, so that we can recognise those around us, journey with them and reach out to them.
In the Book of Numbers the Lord gives this blessing to the people of Israel; let us make it our blessing too for the year ahead:
‘May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’
The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP
Archbishop of Liverpool