As I sat with my wife on New Year’s Eve and watched the Big Apple drop in New York, it was, as always, great to see so much joy, love, reflection and hope for what this new year of 2023 may bring us. Sadly, for many of us, reality sets in by January 2nd as we face the same old issues of work, family, rising food and gas prices and continued political turmoil across this planet.
2022 saw us finally see some signs of Covid 19 diminishing, but not disappearing. We saw the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. In the USA mid term elections have come and mostly gone with the usual rhetoric from both sides of a deepening divide between and amongst various political factions that will likely continue and grow leading up to the 2024 election. We in Canada are closely connected both geographically and economically to the United States and yet we strive to maintain those differences that are part of our own character. We are still able to see a fairly good level of collaboration between politicians while also having some strong voices from fringe groups. The level of gun violence is much lower here but still a growing concern in larger urban areas. We continue to struggle with reconciliation efforts with Indigenous People but were heartened by the papal visit last summer.
While all these issues are real and important, there is a need to renew our efforts regarding the real issues of the day. Poverty (especially among people of colour), homelessness, hunger, environmental issues, and a basic living wage for everyone are but a few of our concerns.
2023 does bring us great hope for better future and perhaps it is a time to renew our efforts to engage, encourage and enable our neighbours in need to have their voices heard. This challenge is a simple one to achieve. It begins with our listening to our neighbours in need and seeking to find Jesus Christ in each and every person we meet. If our renewal of efforts has a focus on the COMMON GOOD of everyone, we will be amazed at how much we may accomplish.
Let us enjoy all the joys of family and friends, both old and new in 2023. Stay safe, healthy, and faithful to our Vincentian character and values.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian Vincentian. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
I respectfully acknowledge the traditional, unceded territories of the Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit, on which lands we meet, work and live.