We take great care in discarding our garbage. If we don’t, the repercussions are terrible. It can generate stink and discomfort, make you sick and can invite unwanted guests like pests, maggots and rats. It’s part of the routine. It’s one of those chores children get familiarized very early on. It has become a discipline like brushing our teeth. I am talking about the garbage we deposit into trashcans. It doesn’t take extra-ordinary effort to let them go.

Now I want talk about another kind of garbage that is difficult to discard. It takes a super natural effort to do so. It’s garbage of the past – our past guilt, hurt, failures and setbacks. In psychology circles it’s called ‘baggage’. We don’t know how stinking it is until we discard it.

We don’t understand how heavy this baggage can be until we put it down. We have yet another year – 2017, another opportunity to clean the trashcan of the past. It’s the first day of January. The name “January” comes from the Roman god Janus, the god with two faces, one looking to the past and another looking to the future. For us January indeed is an opportune time to look back at the year that has just ended and to look forward to the year ahead.

We look at the past not to remain in the past but to go forward with renewed vigor and positive energy. Discarding the garbage of the past will help us to live the present with excitement and look to the future with hope. In the spirit of today’s first reading, we are then in a position to bless others instead of cursing. Moreover, each of us can be a blessing by the power of our presence. Oh, one more thing! Please don’t do it alone. Do it with God. He is happy to help you discard your garbage of the past. It could be detrimental if you did it all by yourself.

Here is a prayer for the journey: MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone (Thomas Merton).


– Fr.Abe