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A New Day Has Begun!

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A couple of hundred years ago, before electricity and smart phones, a rabbi asked his students: “How do you know when the night has ended and the day has begun before the sun comes up on the horizon?”

            One student said, “Rabbi, when I can see the fence between our field and our neighbor’s.”Another student said, “When I look in the distance and I can tell if it’s a horse or a cow.” A third student offered an answer, “Rabbi, when I see the colors of a flower and I can see the red, the yellow, or the blue. That’s when the night has ended.”

            The rabbi had a frown on his face as he said, “I really don’t care for your answers. You are only dividing and separating: a fence to divide your field from your neighbor’s, separating a horse from a cow, or one color from another. Is that all we can do, separate, divide and split the world into pieces? Isn’t the world split and broken enough?”

            “So what is the answer,” they all asked? With a voice that was gentle and imposing, he said, “When you look into the face of the person who is next to you and you can recognize that the person next to you is your brother or your sister, then the night has ended and a new day has begun.”

Many of us are looking forward to putting 2023 behind us. We are hoping and praying that 2024 is a much better year. OF THE THINGS WE CAN CONTROL IN 2024, HOW ARE YOU AND I GOING TO MAKE 2024 TO BE A BETTER YEAR?  

Are you and I going to do exactly what we did in 2023 – separate, divide and split the world into pieces by some of the things we say and do? Isn’t the world split and broken enough with wars and border crises.  

            Several Christmases ago I was on the phone with the administrative assistant of my former parish in Chicago. She told me that her granddaughter a week before had caused a terrible car accident. Not paying attention, her granddaughter went through a red light and hit another woman’s car. Both cars were totaled. 

Her granddaughter got out of her car and was fearing the worst. The woman from the car that she totaled was okay and was walking toward her. In her hand was a tray of Christmas cookies. She gave the tray of Christmas cookies to a young woman who was a total stranger who had just hit her and totaled her car and said: “Here, this will cheer you up!” 

            Here was a woman who was able to look into the face of a terrified young lady who had just totaled her car – and recognize that she was her sister.

            The only question that remains: How will YOU and I react in 2024 when the political rhetoric heats up even more and begins to rage every day until Election Day, November 5th?  Will YOU and I be able to look into the faces of those around us and say that this person is MY brother or MY sister? When YOU and I are able to do this, then the night has ended and a new day and a New Year has truly begun!

Thanks to Dino Reichmuth for the picture.


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