Monday, January 3, 2022
Dolores Hanley McDiarmid
During the month of January, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, when the wise men followed the star of Bethlehem to find the baby Jesus and present their gifts to him. Think about how disciplined and motivated they must have been during their long journey. Without focusing on the star, the wise men would not have found our Lord waiting in the manger for them, to come and present their gifts. For the wise men, the star was the focus. In this new year, what will we choose to be our focus?
A few weeks ago, I was reminded about the importance of focusing on the right place. While taking a walk in our neighborhood and feeling rejuvenated by breathing the fresh air, I found myself in the path of a bicyclist who had his head turned, obviously distracted by something. He was not focusing on where he was heading. If I had not stepped to the side and out of his path, the afternoon would have ended differently for both of us. The bicyclist’s focus was on the wrong place.
This incident made me wonder about where our focus will be in the new year. Year after year we turn our attention to ways of self-improvement, planning new experiences and other worldly goals, primarily focusing on ourselves — which is fine. However, I believe there is something or someone greater that is more important to have as our focus.
I heard a priest once say in a homily that the most important thing in life is our relationship with our Lord. Like any relationship we have, the more time we spend with a person, the more we get to know them and grow to love them; and if they have virtuous traits, we may even be inspired to imitate them.
How much time do we spend focused on our relationship with our Lord? How motivated or disciplined are we when it comes to growing in our relationship with our Lord? I think back to the bicyclist who was paying more attention to a distraction rather than remaining focused on what was more important: where he was going.
Where are we going in this new year? Will our focus be on spending more time with our Lord or will we be focusing on the multitude of worldly distractions offered to us?
Our Lord is interested in every part of our lives and all we are experiencing. One of the greatest gifts he offers us is his friendship and companionship. Our Lord walks with us and waits to hear from us. Talking to our Lord and listening in the quiet of our hearts for his response can be our focus in the new year.
If we make the effort to focus on our relationship with our Lord, we will get to know him better and love him more so that we can imitate him and/or be a better reflection of him to family, friends and others who cross our path. A life focused on our Lord will lead to our personal transformation, which in turn can lead to the transformation of others.
As the new year begins, let us be focused on building and improving our relationship with our Lord. The Holy Spirit will be our bicycle, moving us along the path our Lord has prepared for each of us to help create a world that reflects the love of God.
Think back to the three wisemen and how they focused on that all-important star, the star that led them to baby Jesus. Will you make our Lord the focus of your life? What gift will you be giving to our Lord this year? He is waiting.