31 December, Thursday – God was there

Dec 31 – Memorial for St. Sylvester I, pope

Sylvester (d. 335) was pope in the reign of Emperor Constantine I, who built the Lateran and other churches. He sent legates to the First Council of Nicaea, and was involved in the controversy over Arianism. The spurious Donation of Constantine was supposedly given to St. Sylvester.

  • Patron Saint Index

1 Jn 2:18-21
Jn 1:1-18

A light that shines in the dark

We have reached the last day of 2020. As an unprecedented year in human history, much has been written, discussed and lamented about the you-know-what. Instead of the usual promise of hopeful new beginnings, I believe that many are approaching 2021 with an air of trepidation. How long more are we going to live like this? How many more lives and livelihoods will be threatened by new strains of the virus? How effective will the vaccines be? And a more pressing question — where is God in all of this?

My parish small group had a year-end review session recently where we did a kind of mindmap of all the words that come to mind when we think about 2020. We then circled those words that were about events where we felt that God was present (e.g. I crossed a couple of major milestones in my research and was separately given an opportunity to spend the last year of my PhD abroad). This was followed by an examination of the words that we did not circle, considering whether God was present there (e.g. I experienced burnout after some unexpectedly taxing work as a teaching assistant in the university). Unsurprisingly, even in the most unpleasant of events, we could not deny God’s presence, for there was always a silver lining somewhere, or a lesson to be learned.

Through the mystery of the incarnation, God entered into human existence and into a world of sin and pain and suffering. As unfathomable as it may be, God took on human nature in His infinite love, experienced the deepest of human suffering and rescued us from the depths of sin. He is “a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower” (John 1:5). While we may falter and lose heart, God never does. In these times of great uncertainty and upheaval to our lives, may we cling on to our faith, trusting that God will always honour His commitment to us as our loving father.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)

Prayer: We pray for relief from the burdens that we may be carrying, and that we may find renewed strength and hope in Christ.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the grace that we receive, even amidst our trials.

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