This homily, based on Luke 2:16-21, is for New Year’s Day and the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
Today, New Year’s Day, there is one line that comes to mind. And I love saying it: “The best is yet to come!”
Yet it’s not always something easy to say–and to believe!
Not when things aren’t quite right. And especially not when the way the world is turning out isn’t quite to our liking–or the way people behave is, to say the least, bewildering–or to tell it like it is, disheartening.
But today, the first day of the new year, that’s the mantra we’re invited to say to ourselves: “The best is yet to come!” Today the Church also remembers Mary: It’s her Solemnity as the Mother of God, and today’s Gospel provides us with a slice from her life, a picture-perfect scene, where she is depicted cradling her newborn infant, surrounded by shepherds bearing good news. It is not difficult to imagine Mary looking into her heart as she treasures that precious moment and saying to herself and to her child, “The best is yet to come.”
It is a lovely and peaceful scene–but a fragile and temporary one. As we know, not much later, an angel will show up in one of Joseph’s dreams, bearing bad news. And Mary will find herself stealing away in the night, heart pounding, baby wrapped in her arms. Together with her husband Joseph, she will be on the run–away from the wrath of a despot–much like thousands of refugees today fleeing from violence and pried away from their homes.
I wonder: That night as they flee to a foreign land, uncertain of the future, is Mary still able to say, “The best is yet to come”?
As I was wrestling with the question, a friend, Martin, quite out of the blue, shares a 19th-century painting with me, describing it as one of his favorites. It’s called “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” by Luc Olivier Merson.
It portrays the Holy Family taking a respite from their travels. It is dark, and Joseph is sprawled exhausted in the desert sand. Mary lies in the bosom of a Sphinx, that powerful but benevolent mythical creature. The Baby Jesus sleeps next to her heart, the child’s halo lighting up both their faces–as if to say: “Yes, even in the darkest, most uncertain night, there will be light. And we can–and we should–still say, ‘The best is yet to come!'”
I think today isn’t about insisting on a naive and escapist brand of optimism about the world. The Mother of God teaches us what true optimism is and how it is obtained. Even in our darkest, most turbulent hours, if we look into our own hearts and recognize the light of Jesus there, we can still say–and believe–that indeed the best is yet to come.
If we say our New Year mantra prayerfully, we will recognize that it is, more than anything else, a promise that God makes to us this first day of the new year. For it is He who cradles us in His powerful and benevolent bosom.
For this New Year, let’s take God’s word for it. A blessed New Year to all!
11 replies on ““THE BEST IS YET TO COME””
Thank you father Johnny for that inspiring message to us children. We hope to live our new year as new people, as better children. And surely the best has yet to come. May you always continue to inspire us! Thank you and Luceat Lux!
Fr.Johnny- thank you for this hopeful message for the New Year! But the best is still the picture- it says it all! This touching imprint speaks to me of many things . It touches my heart and gives me hope. HAPPY NEW YEAR! – TChita
Fr J.. i am now livngg in the darkest moments of my family’s life..but having read this gives me hope. Thank you.
« The best is yet to come! » How much this sentence promises solace and hope even if the hegemonistic model of productivist and consumerist development that wants to be universal stifles altruism and compassion as cardinal values, destroys the links of solidarity so essential to peace and harmony between humans, and common values which form the bedrock of a society. Violence and injustice, war and ostentation daily ruin hopes for a better future. Millions of innocent peoples are killed in inept bombardments or die in their frantic flight. And childhood is crushed with the same drumstick. No sphinx to offer them a moment of respite. Yes it is hard to say and believe that “The best is yet to come”
We should keep in mind that humanity has never produced and accumulated so much material wealth, and that misery, the infra-human condition that prevents to live in dignity as human being, has never degraded so many people. So let us learn again the authentic sharing of the Lord’s Prayer: be content with our daily bread. According to Gandhi “An object even if it has not been acquired by theft, must nevertheless be considered stolen if it is possessed without need.” The true love of neighbor is manifest in our everyday deeds.
How can we escape the hopelessness that hurts hearts? Only the expectation brings the right answer, the comforting answer. « The best is yet to come! » Yes. When we act selflessly in the service of others, we help the best to come. It is the expectation in action that draws its strength and determination from Love, the only real, palpable and visible manifestation from the Divine present in each of us. Expectation extends far beyond the limits of our planet and our rationality; it goes over our prejudices and our selfish worries. It embraces eternity and infinity. For the French writer Georges Bernanos, “Expectation is a heroic virtue. You think it’s easy to hope. But only expect those who have had the courage to despair of delusions and lies in which they found a security that they falsely believed to be expectation “. Expectation is transcendence; it opens us to the Divine True and delivers us from evil in God. Yes “The best is yet to come”
Thank you Johnny to invite us every Sunday to stay connected to God. Your homilies are precious.
Happy New Year and long life to you
“The best is yet to come . . .” Thank You Po God! Whichever/whenever/however . . .
Yes! I believe the “best is yet to come” no matter how dark or incomprehensible our world may be.
We have a Father who keeps His promises.
Happy New Year everyone!
Happy new year, Fr. J. Here’s a fine example of “the best is yet to come”. I just received a message that my brother-in-law, a bedridden near comatose patient, spoke his first word in 10 years! Guess what he said. WHY? His wife, a neurologist, thinks her husband might begin talking this year. “He has become more responsive.” True, the best is yet to come. With God’s grace and in His time.
Dear Fr. Johnny, thank you very much for this deeply consoling and reassuring reflection. Blessed grace-filled New Year to you and your readers.
Happy new year Fr Johnny!
Your homily reminds me of my dark times. I am also reminded to be thankful for the grace of hope and the presence of people who provide refuge and encouragement.
This new year I celebrate the hope for better times for everyone in whatever way and celebrate gratefulness for the past many blessings.
Bless you too Fr Johnny for being the pin of light to many of us weekly.
Thank you Fr J for all the wonderful insights you have shared through Pins of Light. They are not only heart-warming but grace-filled. We can resonate with your stories as well as with the lessons learned.
As a matter of fact, I share your reflections to my colleagues at work through our group accounts. My colleagues appreciate these reflections which all make us think, discern and pray better.
We pray that you continue to share these beautiful insights which are truly God-inspired. We look forward to more wonderful reflections in the coming days! God bless you and your ministry!