Mons. Francisco Javier Pistilli Scorzara, I. Sch., Bishop of Encarnación, Year End Mass 2018 •
In life, its beginning and its end are the only certainties. There is only one beginning and there can only be one end to a task. But this tension between beginnings and endings accompany us our entire lives. A day, a night, a day’s work, sowing, reaping, a course, a project, a commitment. It is the same with every step of our lives, a path, a prayer, a song, a promise, anger, sickness, an encounter, a celebration, a farewell. Similarly, a tear, laughter, a kiss, an embrace, a romance, emnity. Each day is a new beginning, but it is also a new ending. Knowing how to start what is good and end what is bad are tasks that accompany us throughout our lives, in every relationship and every situation. —
Knowing how to transform a bad beginning into a good ending is a masterpiece that requires grace and commitment.
The how and the what we begin or end are related, prioritised by a hierarcy of the what, followed by the how. Reconciliation begins with adequate measures to make it happen. Ending a conflict also requires adequate measures to make make it happen. The apathy of not knowing how to start or end can be caught unawards by the unexpected, frustration, bewilderment, confusion, death, barrenness, the brimming over and things that do not make sense.
A good beginning and a good ending are part of our daily desire. Good days with those we greet and good nights with those we bid farewell define the daily blessings of every life. In this way we bless the life that begins at birth and bless the life that is already resting eternally. We bless the grace that makes us children and we bless the grace that leads us to eternal life.
One year is ending and another one is beginning, even though the old continues in the one that is beginning and the beginning of the new is merely the continuation of the old, because things that are left alone normally do not change by themselves. Knowing how to transform a bad beginning into a good ending is a masterpiece that requires grace and commitment. Knowing how to convert a bad ending into a new beginning requires maturity, composure and wisdom. Ending what you began and beginning what would be impossible without you demands decision, responsibility and perseverance. Bidding farewell to past evil does not happen simply because we turn a page of the calendar. Good signs for the future do not begin with the single toll of the last bell at midnight.
But what God begins through grace does not end without our cooperation. Because the peace of Christ should still be our armour against the wars between brothers, the love of Christ should still overcome the hatred among us, the freedom of the children of God should eliminate the slavery of sin within each one of us. Through baptism we are children, free, and holy, united as brothers and sisters and rooted in eternity. But our lives, the way that we live in relationship with Christ and with one another, will define the final outcome.
Are you a Christian? End a war, build peace. Put an end to injustice and reestablish a just relationship. Put an end to division among brethren and testify to unity without discrimination. Leave behind lies and live in the truth. Leave behind selfishness and individualism and return to the path of sharing and grow in community. Bring the path of forgiveness that you already began to its conclusion and build reconciliation. Turn the page on the bitterness of weakness and begin a new chapter of hope and the joy of love.
Are you a Christian? Abandon the toast of death and destiny, and sit at the table of brotherly love and the full life of those who live for love, giving their lives every minute, every hour, every day, week and year united to Jesus, consecrated to his peace and justice to build his Kingdom which has no end.
Are you a Christian Take up your role to end evil and let goodness shine. Cast aside the old man and put on the new man, in Christ, in all that you start and finish, in all that you finish in order to start again.
One the eve of the Feast of the Holy Mother of God, we welcome her, who with her Yes stepped out of darkness to bring to light the Messiah of peace, to desire happiness, justice and peace. Happy New Year? Happy, because we go with her who chose well and ended up better, because with her we once again receive Jesus in the new year that is starting, asking for her blessing and taking up the commitment to bring the life that we have been given.
I toast with you, that the blessing and protection of God, our Father, who takes us from the evil of old and frees us from evil in his Son Jesus; that the light of God’s face on us and his favour in our lives, revealed, known and experienced in Christ; that his gaze directed toward us and the peace that he gives us in his Holy Spirit, may grant you a good end to this year and a better start to the next.
In the certainty that God will not rest until he has brought about what he started in us and I wish you a happy and blessed 2019.
+ Francisco Javier Pistilli Scorzara, I.Sch.
Original: Spanish, 31 December. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa