WEEKLY REFLECTIONS | A New Year’s Message 2019

By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
www.nordis.net

“But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.”– Galatians 5:22-23

12 Rounded Fruits

Many Filipinos welcome the New Year with 12 kinds of rounded fruits perhaps representing unending good luck in the 12 months of the year. We are not really sure where the practice has come from. Some say probably it has come from the Chinese tradition.

In any case, they say that having these fruits on our tables at the start of the New Year will bring good fortune to our homes. And a lot of people truly believe this kind of business gimmick.  Thus, even if prices of rounded fruits become enormously exorbitant as the New Year comes, people are still desperately trying to complete the number of rounded fruits on their table.

As to how 12 rounded fruits make our lives better in this season of the year, we really don’t know.  What we know is that fruit dealers and vendors would have better lives in this season of the year for having additional profits.

For people who view life’s destiny in terms of sheer fate symbolized by their lucky stars and lucky numbers, this practice is not difficult to follow.  However, many still believe that our future destiny depends not so much on these 12 rounded fruits, but on how we ourselves live our lives.

9 Fruits of the Spirit

Now, if we would like to have a happy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year, I think there are other kinds of fruits we need to have aside from the 12 rounded fruits.

In his letter to the Galatians, Apostle Paul talks about the fruits of the Spirit that should be seen among Christians as they live their lives in Christ (cf. Gal.5:22-23). Instead of 12, Apostle Paul mentions 9 fruits of the Spirit, namely: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (cf. Gal. 5:22-23).

Now, let us try to look into the meaning of these fruits of the Spirit one by one.  First of all, love describes our deliberate efforts to seek the best even for those who seek the worst for us.  And this could not be done apart from God’s help.

Joy is not that which comes out of our triumphs over others in rivalry or competition, but rather that which comes out of our faith and trust in the living God as we serve our fellow human beings.

Peace means not just freedom from trouble, but rather everything that makes for our highest good.  It means serenity of heart that comes out of awareness that our times are in God’s hands.

Patience refers to an attitude of bearing with our human weaknesses and limitations.

Kindness and goodness are very closely related.  Sometimes they are used interchangeably.  Jesus showed goodness when he cleansed the Temple and drove out those who were making it a bazaar (cf. Lk.19:48), and he showed kindness to the woman who anointed his feet (cf. Mk.14:3-9).  We need goodness which is at the same time kind and strong.

Faithfulness is the characteristics of a reliable person, someone who is worthy of trust.

Gentleness speaks of being submissive to God, teachable in good things, and considerate to fellow human beings.

Then, self-control means self-mastery, mastery of our desires and love of pleasure.  This is the virtue of leaders who would not allow their private interests to influence their decisions.  This is the virtue of people who have mastered themselves so that they are now fit to be the servants of others.  It is quite dangerous for a nation to have leaders who don’t have any self-control.

Fruits for the New Year

Now, in order to have a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year, I think we need to have more than the 12 rounded fruits on our tables.  More importantly, we also need to have in our lives the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  For without these kinds of fruits in our lives, we can surely say that there is really nothing new in this New Year, and that the Spirit of the Christ born in a manger is yet to be born anew in our lives and in our life together as a people.

Personal Note

On a personal note, this was the first time I celebrated New Year alone by myself.  My wife Pearl was and is still vacationing in Dubai with our Architect son Lean together with his wife Annabelle.  Our eldest son Leo, a lawyer, was also quite busy with his work in a law firm in Makati.  He called me up on Christmas Day to say that he could not come home for the New Year.  Our youngest son Roland, a medical doctor, was also on duty at Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

And so, I was left alone with our two pet dogs, Lego and Jelo, and a cat, Moneng.  They joined me in eating the food I prepared for the media noche. It is in times like this that pets become very important in our lives; they keep us company when we are alone and make us feel that our loved ones are with us even though they are away from us.  Our pets are very much part of our lives.  Together with them, we journey in life.

Happy new year to everyone!# nordis.net

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