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2020 is Over!

Today is January 1st. That means we begin a new year. It is now 2021! That means 2020 is over! 2020 is a year we might wish we could forget but probably never will. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live our lives.

Of course, 2020 had other challenges too. In October I wrote a blog article called “2020: What a Year!”. It was a letter to God expressing our prayers for all that has happened this year. Besides the Coronavirus, there was the record number of wildfires and tropical storms. 2020 was a presidential election year. That, and the Coronavirus, added to political divisions. We also continue to face the ongoing struggles brought on by past sexual abuse by clergy.

Fortunately there has been some good news since I wrote that article. They are beginning to distribute vaccines for the Coronavirus so we hope and pray that we are turning a corner for the better against the Coronavirus. Thanks be to God.

The wildfires are mostly over with for this year. Likewise, the tropical storm season is over. Thanks be to God.

The presidential election is over so the political focus is shifting (unfortunately political division continues). On the clergy abuse crisis, not a lot has changed. We ask God to help us deal with the abuse crisis according to his will.

January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This solemnity is celebrated on the eighth day of the Octave of Christmas. On Christmas day the time came for Mary to have her child. The “good news of great joy” was delivered to the shepherds by an angel who told them, “Today, in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.

Hearing this news, the shepherds went to see Jesus. Today’s gospel, tells of the shepherds’ visit. The shepherds spoke of all that the angel told them. We are told that “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Mary is a woman of prayer. We should follow her example and reflect on what Christmas means for us.

We should also reflect on 2020. We might rather forget it but reflection can be good for us to prepare for 2021.

Ask yourselves what good things happened for you in 2020.

For me, in the solitude of the three-month Coronavirus shutdown, I found myself reflecting on what was going on, both in regards to the Coronavirus and life in general. I found the time I always wanted to write a lot of articles for this blog. Many of the articles entered on the Coronavirus but there a lot of others too. As I wrote, the number of people reading my blog also increased. Perhaps people were just bored during the shutdown but I hope what I write on this blog helps people grow in their relationship with God. The other positive for me in 2020 is that I was able to double the number of presentations I did in a single year. I had to learn how to host a webinar but God made it happen. (Here’s an invitation to my next webinar.)

What will 2021 bring?

We pray that the vaccine brings the Coronavirus pandemic to a close and with it face masks and social distancing. For now we pray that all remain vigilant in these efforts. As the Coronavirus is brought under control, we pray for many more people to return to attending church in person (as well as welcoming new faces).

However, we should not assume everything will go back to the way it was before the Coronavirus. In fact, there are things like declining church attendance, the rise of relativism, and decline in morality that I hope change for the better in 2021. I don’t pray that we just go back to the old normal. I pray that we work together to do God’s will and that we make God’s kingdom known to all.

Personally, I pray here for three things. The first, of course, is an end to the Coronavirus pandemic. The second is for all to return to church and for new people to come too. The third is that the Holy Spirit continue to guide me to teach through presentations, my website, and this blog to help grow closer to God.

What do you pray for in 2021?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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