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Father Muench Says...

A letter to all as we begin the new year

Jan. 9, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

To properly begin a new year, I have decided to ask each of you to develop your dream, your dream for yourself for the new year and your dream for the world for this new year. I recently heard a speaker say, “If you don’t have a dream, you will never make this world a better place.” The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to focus on developing your dream.

I am certain that your dream is important, both for you and for all of us. I believe that your hopes and dreams matter not only to you, but also to the rest of us. I hope that you believe that your dream does matter. Whether small or grand, your dream for this year is important and significant. Each person’s dream gives us all a challenge to make our world a better place.

Today, I would like to share with you my dream – a dream that has always been a part of my life. For all of my time as a priest, I have dedicated my ministry and my life to the dream of a world in which all people will live in peace. I dream of a world free from violence, a world alive with peace. My hope and prayer is that the people on this planet may soon learn how to live in peace with each other.

I preach this often. I have been told often to stop bothering. People tell me my dream is impossible. However, I believe that if I stop dreaming of peace for one moment, if I stop preaching of peace for one moment, if I stop hoping for peace for one moment, I know I would lose my very reason for doing what I do as a disciple of Jesus. I would lose my trust and confidence in people, the people of my community and the people of my world. May you join me in this dream.

Because this is my dream, I must carefully recognize how I live each day. If I dream for peace, I must take the responsibility of living a life filled with peace. I must encourage and challenge others to live lives filled with peace. I must eliminate all of violence from my own life. I must encourage others to eliminate violence. I must learn to control anger completely. I must radiate peace, just as Jesus did during his life on this earth. The Gospels are filled with stories of how Jesus brought peace and forgiveness and love into his ministry, into all that he did.

One thing in this regard, I have decided to bring into my life, a challenge for each and every day. I challenge myself to make at least one person happier every day of my year. I certainly do not mean that I will somehow force another to be happy. This is not about telling a joke each day. Rather, I believe the Lord places in my life a challenge every day, someone who needs me to touch their lives. It’s always a surprise and always a challenge. I know only too well how often Jesus surprises me with the challenge to make a difference in someone’s life, someone that Jesus wants to reach through me. My prayer in faith is that I will have enough faith and trust in my God that I be open to recognize the Lord’s surprises and that I will be unselfish and loving enough to do something, that I will make an effort to bring some happiness into someone else’s world.

So, another new year. Will this be the year that I will be able to do something good? Will it be the year that I will help my dream to come true by bring peace into my life and my world? Will this be the year that others will learn to live in peace? May we all develop a great dream for this new year.

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