By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — As he helped celebrate the lunar new year, Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. passed along a bit of American culture, probably well known to the immigrant Vietnamese-American congregation at Church of the Holy Martyrs.
“In American culture, the new year ahead is often represented by a new baby, and the year past is represented by an old man,” he said.
“We can all think of ourselves today as little babies. In some ways, this is a representation of our great hope of what lies ahead,” he said.
Celebrating a new year is also celebrating time, Bishop Johnston said.
“We sometimes don’t think of time as a gift of God, but it is. Time is one of God’s most precious gifts. It’s part of God’s creation,” he said.
God also created the sun, the stars, and the moon to mark time, Bishop Johnston said.
“All of these great lights in the heavens help us mark the passage of time, a day, a week, a month, a year,” he said.
“But the Bible tells us that we are made for eternity,” he said. “We are creatures of God dependent upon God and his gifts, but we were made by God to live with him forever.”
The things of the world will pass over time. But the ways of God will never change, Bishop Johnston said. “God calls us to use this gift to love, to bring peace, to bring joy,” he said.
“As people of faith, we ask God to bless us with what we need in this new year,” he said.
“Let’s dedicate this new year in service to his kingdom, which will never pass away,” Bishop Johnston said.