January 1, 2015

Last year was quite challenging. No, not in the normal ways by which we have been challenged in the world, with its continuing assault on faith, family and life. Rather, we have been challenged to enter more deeply into the kind of life God wants for us. We saw that our destiny is to be saints, martyrs and warriors. Now that is saying a lot!

Our theme last year was “Empowered to witness.” This year we continue with this. In one of our theme verses this year, we read: “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” (Acts 4:33). Again, empowered to witness! With the corresponding results, that we will enjoy great favor, from God who sends us and from those we witness to.

But that is not our theme this year. Our theme is from the next verse: “There was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:34a). This year, empowered as we are to witness, continuing to do massive evangelization, we are to look to the poor. We are to help build the Church of the Poor.

Now that is another very challenging work. As always, we can only accomplish our task if we keep ourselves focused on the One who sends us, our Lord Jesus. And so we “Look at Jesus, Look to the Poor.”

I take this opportunity to thank you all for the work done last year. You know how you served, how you gave of yourself, how your persevered. And of course God knows. You will not be without your reward. Never forget how it is actually our privilege to serve, and it is our blessing not to count the cost.

We look to another great, and of course challenging, year. God has provided what we need. We continue to be empowered to witness. Our part is to respond and to give even more of ourselves.

Darkness deepens. The war intensifies. It is a great time to be a saint, martyr and warrior. Rise to the challenge. Look to Jesus, and serve his beloved poor.

Happy new year. God bless you all.

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