OPTIONAL MEMORIAL OF ST. SYLVESTER I, POPE, DECEMBER 31, 2020


MASS READINGS


A Reading from Ez 34:11-16


Thus says the Lord GOD:

I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

As a shepherd tends his flock

when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,

so will I tend my sheep.

I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered

when it was cloudy and dark.

I will lead them out from among the peoples

and gather them from the foreign lands;

I will bring them back to their own country

and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel

in the land's ravines and all its inhabited places.

In good pastures will I pasture them,

and on the mountain heights of Israel

shall be their grazing ground.

There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,

and in rich pastures shall they be pastured

on the mountains of Israel.

I myself will pasture my sheep;

I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.

The lost I will seek out,

the strayed I will bring back,

the injured I will bind up,

the sick I will heal,

but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,

shepherding them rightly.


REFLECTION: "Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock."


There are just merely hours left in the year 2020.


Looking back at January, it was a year full of promise: the economy was stable; we had good health; plans were made for travel and enjoyment; for me, me, me...


Then everything changed. For all humanity.


So, what is the lesson that became more important out of this year? At least for me, it was giving my total trust to God.


There were many things we took for granted before the world changed: visiting friends and family at any moment; unlimited chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant; flying or driving anywhere to our hearts' content; Holy Mass and Holy Eucharist.


During quarantine, I truly thirsted for the Sacraments. I longed for Holy Communion more than when I was preparing for First Holy Communion.


Once the ban was lifted, we attended Holy Mass in person immediately.


Then the days and the weeks kept coming, and I felt myself with an attitude of taking things for granted again.


There is the likelihood of things still being grim: of more unemployment, more of our immediate friends and relatives getting sick with COVID; more time without seeing distant relatives; more of the same routine...


And I have to fight with myself and ask God for the gift of perseverance. I should not rely on myself so much, but need to remember to ask for His help and rely on Him. And trust in Him.


Happy New Year everyone! God Bless all y'all!

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