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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 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 is your brother or your sister, then the night has ended and a new day has begun.”

Everyone I know is so looking forward to putting 2020 behind them. Everyone I know is looking forward to 2021 as being a much better year. OF THE THINGS WE CAN CONTROL IN 2021, HOW ARE YOU AND I GOING TO MAKE 2021 TO BE A BETTER YEAR? Are you and I going to do exactly what we did in 2020 – separate, divide and split the world into pieces the way others are doing? Isn’t the world split and broken enough? 

            Yesterday I was on the phone with my administrative assistant of my former parish in Chicago. She told me that her young granddaughter a week ago caused a terrible 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 the young woman who was a stranger 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 do in 2021 when the political rhetoric heats up even more, the pandemic claims many more lives and the protestors take to the streets? Will you and I be able to look into the faces of those around us and even at the faces of the know-it-all talking heads on TV and say that this person is your brother or your 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!


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