Four Attitudes for 2024
The new year is here! The twelve months to come stretch before us, like clean pages on a calendar. You may already have appointments and other responsibilities marked, but no one can deny that the new year gives us an opportunity for a whole new start!
Let’s make this a year of building relationships—with Christ, with one another, with the Word in Scripture, and with our students.
What attitudes do we bring to 2024 that will have us looking back at this year with gratitude and satisfaction? Here are a few:
- Let’s build a closer relationship with Christ. Our relationship with Christ is a two-way street, a dialogue, a dance. Often Jesus leads, and we follow. But surprisingly enough, Christ, who is humble of heart, is not always the leader! Sometimes he wants us to extend the invitation to the dance! Let’s invite Jesus into our daily activities.
The core of our relationship with Christ is the gift of the Eucharist. We may not always reflect on this, but the Eucharist is the driving force behind all of our prayer and all of our service. Do we ever reflect, after the Sunday Mass is over that we have received the Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus given to us just as Jesus gave himself to his Apostles? That we are part of this great movement of incarnational love—God incarnate in Jesus, and Jesus incarnate in us in his Body and Blood? What a reason for thanksgiving, or, in the original Greek, eucharistia!
This year we are celebrating the Eucharist in a special way. This year is the second year of the National Eucharistic Revival (June 11, 2023–July 17, 2024), and it is the Year of Parish Revival. The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage will take place from May 17, 2024–July 16, 2024. The National Eucharistic Congress will take place from July 17––July 21, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The hope is that these opportunities will point us toward the celebration of the Eucharist in a more intentional way, providing more inspiration for meeting Christ in the Eucharist—as individuals, as a parish community, and as a Church.
- Let’s build a closer relationship with Christ’s Word in Scripture. The word of Scripture is the word that comes from the mouth of God. There is an old saying, when someone voices a prayer, “From your lips to God’s ears.” The reversal is even more true: “From God’s lips to our ears.” That is what Holy Scripture is—a message from God. And Saint Benedict urges us, in his Rule, “Open the ears of your hearts.”
Fortunately, God does not need a lot of words to reach the ears of our hearts. One paragraph, the Scripture of the day, a single verse, is enough. Sit with a few verses. What sticks with you, even if only a line or a few words? Remember that line. Repeat it often. Let it become part of you. Chew it like bread. Live with it. Let it bring you nourishment, peace, and assurance that the Word is with you. And then, as you open the Scriptures with your students, help them to become biblically literate by understanding both the wide vision of salvation history and the personal meaning in biblical prayer.
- Let’s build better relationships with our neighbors and colleagues. When someone asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with a parable. The parable was the Good Samaritan. That parable emphasized that you are the neighbor when you are helping someone in need. We meet people “in need” in various ways. They may be people in our neighborhood, people we work with, some of our students, or a particular person on a particular day. To build better relationships, find ways to engage. Be approachable. Go out to others. Invite someone for coffee. Ask your students what they did over the weekend. Give someone the time of day. Don’t be someone who passes by and never really meets their neighbors.
- Let’s build better understanding of our faith through active learning. “If you give someone a fish, they will eat for a day. If you teach someone to fish, they will eat for a lifetime.” We, as human beings, learn by doing. In terms of faith, we are teaching our students to fish! Another analogy may be teaching someone to drive. When you teach someone to drive a car, you don’t describe it to them in the abstract. You find or create an environment (a large parking lot or other open area). You sit them in the driver’s seat and tell them where to put their feet and where to put their hands. You encourage them to make sure the gear is in Park and the key in the ignition. Then you have them put the car in drive and to slowly step on the gas pedal. Find ways to put your students in the driver’s seat of their faith by using interactive lessons. Help them learn their faith by doing their faith.
Yes, these are wonderful and doable goals for 2024! As you survey your empty calendar pages, or even partly-full calendar pages, keep these goals in mind: Christ in the Eucharist, Scripture, community, active faith. What more could we possibly want, for ourselves and all those in our lives? Happy New Year!