Herald Journal Columns
Jan. 16, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

A time for new beginnings

By Father Bob Mraz, Holy Family Catholic Church, Silver Lake

A new year has come. It is good to have a time of new beginnings and fresh starts.

One of the films which just came out at the beginning of the year is “The Chronicles of Narnia.” I saw it twice, as I loved the books back when I was in college.

One thing that always strikes me is when Aslan basically says to the children, “What is done is done, don’t mention it and go on to the future.”

How blessed we would be if we could forgive and forget and move on to the future, realizing we are not God, we are not perfect, and nobody else is either.

So, mistakes were made by ourselves or someone else during the past year, it is no use putting ourselves down (that is, unless we did not learn from it and continue to do whatever it was – then, shame on us). Nor is it good to hold grudges, thinking that others cannot learn from their mistakes and move on to be better persons.

Holding grudges does nothing to the person who hurt us, and on the other hand, makes us miserable. Why carry past burdens on into the future?

I remember before Christmas, there must have been about four versions of “The Christmas Carol” on TV, and with all of them, the point was for Scrooge to learn from the lessons of the past, change his way for the new year, and he and everyone else around him would have a brighter future.

If not, he would be like old Marley, living in darkness and dragging his boxes of problems around with him, in chains that he himself had forged.

Why be bent down under the wight of the past? We need to turn from evil, learn to do good, and be free.

And how blessed it is to know that Christ came to free us, to bring us forgiveness, to teach us to forgive if we wish to be forgiven.

How much more blessed would the world be if people would quit carrying their grudges from the past – either things that happened to them personally the past couple of years, or national grudges that have been carried on for centuries.

How blessed it would be if everyone would learn to forgive, be forgiven, and move on.

How wars would end, how rebellions would cease, how hatreds and suspicions would end, how peace and good will would come, if people would recognize the humanness of themselves, of their neighbors; if they would forgive failings, and forgive others as we want God to forgive us.

As Jesus has already forgiven us.

Let us learn the truth of the simple proverb: “To err is human, and to forgive is divine.”

May we have a blessed new year.

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