January 7, 2022

Editorial

Despite COVID, challenges, let faith be central to all you do in 2022

If you’re a creature of habit, like many others, you have begun 2022 with new hopes and prayers of what the year ahead will bring. Many of us were undoubtedly eager to put 2021 into our rearview mirror.

Go back 12 months, and that same sentiment was evident for much of the population around the world, putting the final, uncertain days of 2020 dominated by the emergence of COVID-19 into the history books as we entered 2021.

Sadly, what we have learned during the past two years, among other things, is that with new variants of COVID come new challenges and even more deaths. Vaccines, boosters and ever-changing mandates have also become the norm in many parts of the world, including in the U.S.

What’s frustrating for many of us as well is how various cities and municipalities have different guidelines for how to handle all the challenges that a pandemic brings. And those differences extend to places of employment and school districts, too.

Some workplaces are requiring its employees to be fully vaccinated. Schools in some parts of the U.S. have gone back to a virtual model, where students are at home on an iPad, trying to understand and learn the day’s lessons, absent from a classroom where teachers and classmates are with them. In some cases, athletic events and public gatherings are being postponed or cancelled because the latest COVID variant has caused an outbreak.

We again wonder: Is this the new “normal”? Will we continue to be forced to adjust our way of living at the drop of a hat?

As was shared in a recent homily during the Christmas season, some in secular society continue to focus on honor, power, pleasure and wealth in their day-to-day lives despite the pandemic.

As Catholic Christians, one constant that we must embrace is our faith. We must continue to strive for the wisdom and grace to see things from God’s perspective.

While many persevered through the past two years, we now also better understand how faith must be central to all we say and do. And we must continue to be people of hope.

Christian hope grants those who suffer the assurance that God does not abandon his people in their time of need, Pope Francis said on Dec. 31, 2021.

“Problems do not vanish, difficulties and worries are not lacking, but we are not alone; the Father ‘sent forth his Son’ to redeem us from the slavery of sin and to restore our dignity as children,” the pope said during an evening prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican to mark the end of 2021.

One way to live as Catholics in 2022 and beyond is to let prayer, Scripture and the sacraments become more integral to whom we are. We can use these opportunities to embrace our Lord even more.

Why not fine-tune your routine by attending Mass more than once a week or receiving the sacrament of reconciliation on a more consistent basis, possibly once a month? How about reflecting on Scripture in your daily routine? And making more prayer time central to your day?

We, as Catholics, are called to put our faith into action. We also understand we say “yes” to God by our actions.

As we begin another year, we must realize the challenges we will face are opportunities for growth.

If we examine our lives, we see God has used someone to lead us to Jesus. Despite ongoing challenges, are we going to lead people to Jesus in 2022 or away from him?

As you reflect at the end of each day, ask yourself: Do I know Jesus better today than I did yesterday? Did I lead someone to him or away from him?

As we read in Scripture: “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8).

Let us pray we never forget that in our ongoing conversion.

And as the Lord’s faithful servants, despite the ongoing COVID crisis and other challenges that await us, may we remember light always triumphs over darkness.

—Mike Krokos

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