When we were preparing for Y2K twenty-two years ago, I dreamed about “A New Humanity for a New Millennium.” So I thought I’d reprise most of last year’s post because it was so positive and we kinda need that positivity this year too, don’t you think?
And I wrote some really positive stuff about us humans, knowing full well we really didn’t warrant it back then.
As we begin each New Year, I suggest beginning with a positive outlook is a good thing, don’t you think? So I here’s a reminder . . . .
. . . . Even though we have failed to live up to the potential of the human family, we nevertheless are called to a deeper faith and hope. The work of Jesus is hardly begun. The task of building a new humanity, partially begun in the first and second millennia, remains the agenda for the third.
As we reach beyond our self-imposed limits of sight, we can look beyond ~ look to the horizon ~ look where we’re headed.
Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin envisioned humanity as evolving toward the “Omega Point,” a point of union of all of creation drawing together in Christ. The Omega Point, Teilhard observes, is the endpoint of the historical process.
Perhaps we can see glimpses of this wonderful and exciting world view in the theology of St. Paul:
“There is no Jew or Greek . . . Christ is everything in all of you” (Col. 3:10).
“Let us profess the truth in love and grow toward the full maturity of Christ the head. Through him the whole body [the world?] grows and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16)
Thus, we are part of something larger than ourselves. With each generation, we ARE growing closer to the goal of all humanity ~ complete and utter union with Christ ~ even though we don’t perceive it!
If we keep that in mind as we look forward in hope to 2022, as we climb out of a year still filled with worries about getting covid, trying to cope with loneliness, or perhaps reaching out to a friend or relative whose family member has passed, or wondering if we will will have stable work again.. . . .we can look upon this process with hope that, despite our failures in love, humanity will one day grow into loving relationship with all there is!
Can you feel it? Can you peer down into the future of humanity and see that we are growing in our ability to love? Or can we only manage to be cynical about all of the devastation that so many humans now create for one another and our planet?
If there is one thing that we can learn in the opening movement of the Third Millennium, it is that we live in the present moment, yet we are connected with a past with all of its achievement and failure, and with connection with a future with all of its hope and uncertainty!
Yes! we must learn to live in the present moment!
The focus of renewing humanity has got to be with renewing ourselves ~ each and every one ~ of having faith in our own growth and hope in our own future. Of realizing that each of us can be transformed again and again into a new person by receiving the grace of transformation that the incarnate and risen Christ extends to us, day in and day out, year in and year out.
Here’s Pope Francis in his New Year’s message this year . . . . I’m offering excerpts of of our Holy Father’s thoughts and wisdom; he is so clear and direct. Enjoy.
POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
55th WORLD DAY OF PEACE
Dialogue Between Generations, Education and Work:
Tools for Building Lasting Peace
1. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace”(Is 52:7).
Today the path of peace, which St. John Paul called by the new name of integral development.(1)
Despite numerous efforts aimed at constructive dialogue between nations, the deafening noise of war and conflict is intensifying. While diseases of pandemic proportions are spreading, the effects of climate change and environmental degradation are worsening, the tragedy of hunger and thirst is increasing, and an economic model based on individualism rather than on solidarity sharing continues to prevail. As in the days of the prophets of old, so in our own day the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth  constantly make themselves heard, pleading for justice and peace.
We need to learn how to regain this mutual trust. The current health crisis has increased our sense of isolation and a tendency to self-absorption. The loneliness of the elderly is matched in the young by a sense of helplessness and a lack of a shared vision about the future. The crisis has indeed been painful, but it has also helped to bring out the best in people. Indeed, during the pandemic we encountered generous examples of compassion, sharing and solidarity in every part of the world.
Dialogue between generations to build peace
Dialogue entails listening to one another, sharing different views, coming to agreement and walking together. Promoting such dialogue between generations involves breaking up the hard and barren soil of conflict and indifference in order to sow the seeds of a lasting and shared peace.(5)
Our current crises show the urgent need for an intergenerational partnership. Young people need the wisdom and experience of the elderly, while those who are older need the support, affection, creativity and dynamism of the young.
Great social challenges and peace processes necessarily call for dialogue between the keepers of memory – the elderly – and those who move history forward – the young.can learn from one another”. For without roots, how can trees grow and bear fruit?
If, amid difficulties, we can practice this kind of intergenerational dialogue, “we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit the past and look to the future. To revisit the past in order to learn from history and heal old wounds that at times still trouble us. To look to the future in order to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies and enable hope to blossom. Together, we can learn from one another”.  For without roots, how can trees grow and bear fruit?
We need only think of care for our common home. The environment, in fact, “is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next”.  We ought to esteem and encourage all those young people who work for a more just world, one that is careful to safeguard the creation entrusted to our stewardship. They go about this with restlessness, enthusiasm and most of all a sense of responsibility before the urgent change of direction  required by the challenges emerging from the present ethical and socio-environmental crisis. 
On the other hand, the opportunity to build paths of peace together cannot ignore education and labor, which are privileged settings and contexts for intergenerational dialogue.
3. Teaching and education as drivers of peace
In recent years, there has been a significant reduction worldwide in funding for education and training; these have been seen more as expenditures than investments. Yet they are the primary means of promoting integral human development; they make individuals more free and responsible, and they are essential for the defense and promotion of peace. In a word, teaching and education are the foundations of a cohesive civil society capable of generating hope, prosperity and progress.
Military expenditures, on the other hand, have increased beyond the levels at the end of the Cold War and they seem certain to grow exorbitantly. (12)
“A country flourishes when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components: popular culture, (13) university culture, youth culture, artistic culture, technological culture, economic culture, family culture and media culture”.  It is essential, then, to forge a new cultural paradigm through “a global pact on education for and with future generations, one that commits families, communities, schools, universities, institutions, religions, governments and the entire human family to the training of mature men and women”.  A compact that can promote education in integral ecology, according to a cultural model of peace, development and sustainability centered on fraternity and the covenant between human beings and the environment.
By investing in the education and training of younger generations, we can help them – through a focused program of formation – to take their rightful place in the labor market. 
The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected the labor market, which was already facing multiple challenges. Millions of economic and productive activities have failed; short-term workers are increasingly vulnerable; many of those who provide essential services have an even lower public and political profile. Furthermore, young people entering the job market and recently unemployed adults presently face bleak prospects.
In a particular way, the impact of the crisis on the informal economy, which often involves migrant workers, has been devastating. Many of the latter are not even recognized by national legislation; it is as though they did not exist. They and their families live in highly precarious conditions, prey to various forms of slavery and with no system of welfare to protect them. Currently only one third of the world’s population of working age enjoys a system of social protection, or benefit from it only in limited ways. Violence and organized crime are on the increase in many countries, impinging on people’s freedom and dignity, poisoning the economy and hampering the development of the common good. The only answer to this is an expansion of dignified employment opportunities.
Labor, in fact, is the foundation on which to build justice and solidarity in every community. For this reason, our aim should not be “that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment.
It is more urgent than ever to promote, throughout our world, decent and dignified working conditions, oriented to the common good and to the safeguarding of creation. The freedom of entrepreneurial initiatives needs to be ensured and supported; at the same time, efforts must be made to encourage a renewed sense of social responsibility, so that profit will not be the sole guiding criterion
In light of this, there is a need to promote, welcome and support initiatives that, on all levels, urge companies to respect the fundamental human rights of workers, raising awareness not only on the part of institutions, but also among consumers, civil society and entrepreneurial entities. As the latter become more and more conscious of their role in society, the more they will become places where human dignity is respected.
Dear brothers and sisters, as we seek to combine our efforts in order to emerge from the pandemic, I renew my thanks to all those who continue to work with generosity and responsibility in the areas of education, safety and protection of rights, in supplying medical care, in facilitating meetings between family members and the sick, and in providing economic support to the needy and those who have lost their jobs. I continue to remember the victims and their families in my prayers.
To government leaders and to all those charged with political and social responsibilities, to priests and pastoral workers, and to all men and women of good will, I make this appeal: let us walk together with courage and creativity on the path of intergenerational dialogue, education, and work. May more and more men and women strive daily, with quiet humility and courage, to be artisans of peace. And may they be ever inspired and accompanied by the blessings of the God of peace!
From the Vatican, 8 December 2021
Pope Francis concludes his message, urging “We never yield to the temptation to disregard others, especially those in greatest need, and to look the other way.” “Instead, may we strive daily, in concrete and practical ways, to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another.”
And now my prayer . . .
Where are we, this New Year’s Day 2022 Lord?
Are we better or worse off than we were last year?
And what will 2022 bring for us?
Are we prepared for whatever it will bring?
Do we realize that . . . . “You never know . . . what the next minute will bring?”
Give us hope, Lord, this New Year’s Day.
A realistic hope that we might be a little kinder toward one another,
a little less self-centered,
a little more willing to go the extra mile for someone, even ~ or especially ~ a stranger.
Give us the strength to be ready for whatever may come . . .
~ if the economy would get better or worse
~ if we lose our job or gain some success,
~ if we meet the girl of our dreams.
Give us the grace to be truly thankful ~ truly repentant ~ truly humble when we wake up this New Year’s morning.
This is my prayer, Lord, for me, for my friends, for our country, for our world.
This New Year’s morning may we pray as St. Francis taught us . . .
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen!
May it be so! may it be so for each of us and our country and the whole world!
Now here’s the great song “Let there be peace on earth”. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers. Click here.
And here are today’s Mass readings for the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. Click here.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 76ff.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 49.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020), 231.
 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit (25 March 2019), 199.
 Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 159.
 Cf. ibid., 163; 202.
 Cf. ibid., 139.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 231; Message for the 2021 World Day of Peace: A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace (8 December 2020).
 Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020), 199.
 Cf. Video Message for the Global Compact on Education: Together to Look Beyond (15 October 2020).
 Cf. Video Message for the High Level Virtual Climate Ambition Summit (13 December 2020).
 Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens (14 September 1981), 18.
 Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 128
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