As we look back at the past year, we may have a hard time finding our Lord with so many challenges and sufferings we, and our world, have experienced. Some of us have been thoroughly beat down by real hardships and illnesses, confused by information overload, or feeling like failures or guilty telling ourselves we should have done more. We may have stepped back from coming to church regularly to try to just survive.
As a priest of almost one year now, I share more in the struggles that all of you face and I lament with what you in your sorrows and trials. Yet despite all of pain and anguish we have all faced, here we stand, as a community of faithful Christians seeking Christ's will and His mercy. Through our small community and fellowship with one another we have been able to stay sane and be able to see glimpses of Christ through the darkness around us. Through the Divine Liturgy, we have been nourished by the True Life of Christ to experience something beyond this shadowy world. Through confession we have been able to pour out our sins, struggles, and fears to receive guidance and forgiveness.
With the coming of the new Church year, the Church offers us another blessing, a fresh start. A fresh start to reconnect with Christ, with one another and return to His Church regardless of what happened last year. Not to fulfil some religious obligation, not because the priest is telling you to, and not because it will magically make all our problems go away but because it is the one place where we can find Truth and Life. Amidst the shifting sands of our life and the chaos in the world, it is the only rock to cling to for stability. It is the place that welcomes all of us, no matter where we are, becoming a hospital for our torn souls.
May we all take this blessed opportunity of a fresh start to come to the Lord with our fears and the tragedy in of lives. To put on the armor of light to stand with the Lord to face the new year in the ark of salvation, His Church; with each other, with the saints and Angels, and with our Holy Mother, the Theotokos.