1. Yes, Time magazine was right. Pope Francis is indeed the Person of the Year. From the first time I saw him step out on the balcony, my heart leaped as he bowed and asked for the blessing of the crowds waiting to see the new pope before he gave his own blessing to the same crowds.
The cardinals chose a translucent Christian. By that phrase, I mean someone who, like a sacrament, radiates Jesus of Nazareth (Webster's: "permitting the passage of light"--yes, of the Light). Now, there are millions of Christians and many, many Catholic clergymen. But not enough are translucently Christian. It makes a big difference. Too often, the conventionally devout and pious simply radiate judgment and "correctionitis" tinged with patronizing, self-righteous disdain and even cynicism. Even worse, often the alleged corrections themselves are mistaken.
2014 offers the opportunity to be translucently Christian like Francis. Or we can simply be "opaque Christians" (Webster's: opacity = being "impervious to . . . light"--the Light).
2. The Tea Party irrationality collapsed in an ignominious budget showdown with the Democrats. Fools were exposed. That is always a good thing. And, although I do not agree with any mandate that violates religious freedom, I, as the American Catholic bishops do, think that the greater availability of health insurance for those uninsured or underinsured is a good thing.
3. Finally, what cannot be described here are all the good things that happened in my life and in yours over 2013. They are not "newsworthy" for the world, but they are for us. So, fill in this space with your own great and good experiences in 2013. As for me, I again enjoyed my vocation of teaching and writing. I enjoyed the blessings of friendship. I enjoyed the opportunity to travel to wonderful places. As a lover of the humanities, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more and more about what matters in life.
2013 was a good year.