On December 31 and at 12:00 midnight, the world welcomed a new year. It is 2021.
With the start of the new year people stare at the image of Lord Jesus Christ with prayers hoping that this year will unveil a new start… a year when 2020 will take off the black cloak and let 2021 put on a white glittering cloak that augurs a radical twist in global events leading to the emergence of real love among the members of global family where peace, common living, respect for human life and care for the mother homeland prevail.
With the start of the new year, the faithful go to churches to pray or rather pray at home pleading with the Prince of Peace to restore His unique and nonpareil peace to the world, mostly in the Holy Land, the birthplace of Lord Jesus Christ Whose peace has no equal.
An overview of the events that took place in 2020 marks a combination of good and bad events.
A top piece of news that brings elation and joy is the Holy See’s announcement that Pope Francis would visit Iraq on March 5-8, 2021. Pope’s planned visit to Iraq is vital and of prime importance as it will definitely encourage Christians to stay in the country as their numbers has been dwindling rapidly.
Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said that the planned visit would carry messages to remind Iraqis of peace and coexistence. He added, “It will place an emphasis on the true meaning of brotherhood and citizenship; we are only family and it will encourage Christians to stay in the country and to integrate and build confidence between each other towards a better future. It will give hope.”
Among the good events is His Holiness Pope Francis’ issuance of his encyclical titled, “Fratelli tutti”. This encyclical which means “We are all brothers”, addresses all men and women of good will, who populate the earth inclusively, with the hope of reaching to each and every one with them with the aim of conveying a message of “fraternity and social friendship”. The central theme of the papal letter reveals that our common belonging makes us brothers and sisters while focusing on issues of justice and defines the Church’s mission following the emergence from the pandemic.
With this encyclical, the Pope set firm bases for reinstating the idea of brotherhood among all members of the global family which ultimately paves the way for entrenching global peace and harmony.
Furthermore, over the year 2020 Pope Francis continued his endeavors to bring about unity of the Church, which is the ultimate objective of every sincere Christian.
In 2020, Pope Francis brought to the people of the Holy Land the good news regarding naming His Beatitude Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa as the new Patriarch of Jerusalem, a step which brought elation and joy to the people of the Holy Land.
In a recent exclusive interview with abouna.org website, His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa said among other things, “I believe that despite everything God is always able to bring His will, and this is the will of God, and so long that this is the will of God then we are in peace. But I believe that in the will of God everything is possible and I am confident. I know the Church after these years that we will be able to build the Kingdom of God because there is also a lot of commitment. So, I am positive.”
On the other hand, the year 2020 brought bleak events triggered by the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic which wreaked havoc on humanity and badly damaged global economies. This pandemic caused the death of thousands of people worldwide and brought innumerable businesses to bankruptcy thus causing unemployment, hunger, hopelessness, crime, and violence to simmer.
The heavy-duty responsibilities ahead of 2021 imply steering the world towards social recovery in concomitant with resuscitating the ailing economies, in addition to accelerating anti-COVID-19 inoculations with the aim of curbing the pandemic and restoring the world to its status quo ante.
With our prayers for a new year, we recall Lord Jesus’ Christ words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
With the turn of the new year, it is time to earnestly ask Lord Jesus Christ to help us not to lean on our own understanding, but in everything acknowledge Him, so that He can direct our words, thoughts and actions. Let us ask Him to help us fight all social diseases including the prevailing pandemic, and let us live according to His will and teachings.
By Munir Bayouk