Is it just me, or does this time of year tend to feel a little disappointing? The holidays are over, the days are dark, and the winter seems to stretch on with no end in sight. To add to the disappointment, this is the time of year that most of us start to flake out on our new year’s resolutions. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that we were ringing in the New Year and making all kinds of promises to ourselves that we were going to try harder, be better, and make a new start?
How’s that new start working out? Does it still feel new?
I think I can relate a little bit to the new Christians that the author of Hebrews was exhorting in today’s First Reading. They had converted from Judaism to the very newly established Christianity, and maybe after the initial high and excitement, this new faith was starting to get hard. They were encountering persecution, and reverting back to Judaism was probably looking pretty appealing. But the author of Hebrews tells them: Don’t go back! We don’t need the old way, the old covenant, with all its rituals and endless sacrifices, because Jesus has given Himself, “his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
But what does this mean for us?
We live in a society that puts a lot of emphasis on The New: new cars, new clothes, new body, new techy gadgets. It’s easy to feel that pull, to want to be new and exciting, and to become dissatisfied with our own lives. Sometimes we get stuck in our own sort of “old covenant,” repeating vain rituals over and over again to try to find happiness and newness. But Jesus made ONE sacrifice—His own life, the redemption from our sin. It’s the only thing that can make us new. Thanks be to God, we get to participate in that ONE perfect sacrifice every time we go to Mass. We get to drink the very blood that paid our ransom and makes us clean.
So how about this for a new New Year’s resolution? I resolve to rest in Jesus, and let His sacrifice make me new, all over again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Co. 5:17 ESV)
Am I relying on what the world has to offer to make me new? Or on Jesus Christ?
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith. Read more about her here.