Passage of Green: Making all things new in the New Year

By Burnie Cook

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.’ The one who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Then he said, ‘Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true,’ says Revelation 21:1-5a.
Liturgically, we have entered a new year as we entered into Advent to prepare for Christmas and in preparation for Jesus’ coming. January first has come and gone too; so, ready or not, it is 2015! Has anyone made a New Year’s resolution? Remember those? They are something we don’t hear too much about anymore. Yet they can be helpful in making a new idea into a regular, good habit.
One might say that a resolution is simply something we try to do better in 2015 or something that we may have forgotten to do last year in 2014. Some ideas include eating healthier, exercising, losing weight, eliminating caffeine, trying to eat more salads, eating out less, saving more money, spending more time with the family and children, working on or around the house, praying more, going to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or attending Mass regularly, or seeking the sacrament of reconciliation.
In that spirit, my resolution is to produce this column more often in 2015. With this new year, I will do my best to have this column in the April, July/August and October issues of the Catholic Spirit.
So how does this spirit of a new year and resolutions relate to the mission of being green in stewardship, sustainability and other environmental concerns? In 2014, my invitation was for us to be “finding natural ways to ‘subdue’ the earth this spring.” Here in 2015, our wintertime will soon turn into spring, just as the liturgical colors are going from purple to white and to green, we need to take heed of the recent message from the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist  to “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Mark 1:3b).
Our flower beds, gardens and lawns have gathered leaves and brown grass. It’s time to rake all those multi-color leaves and withering pine needles and everything else trees have shed. Prepare the gardens and flower beds with fresh mulch and fertilizer, and trim the dried foliage from the perennials. Don’t give up on the lawn, it just needs water and warm sunlight to bounce back to green. 
Let us remember Romans 8:31; “If God is for us, who can be against us?” With God’s help, we can make all things new. 
Happy New Year!

Burnie Cook and his wife Maggie are parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin. He enjoys spending time with family and friends. Look for “Passage of Green” on Facebook and Twitter.

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