THEY always say start the year right. So, I just did.

I started the first day of 2022 celebrating mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. Fr. Marlon Reyes, who would usually lighten the mood by making mass goers smile and laugh, started with how January got its name.

A little review, January was named after the Roman god Janus. He had two faces; one looking behind and the other looking forward so he could see the future and the past. So, as we start the new year in January, we celebrate what had been in the last year and we anticipate what is to come in the current year.

Of course, it didn’t end there. The essence started when he mentioned God with a capital G.

The homily was about peace. How do we become at peace with ourselves and others? How do we achieve peace?

When one is asked to define peace, what naturally comes out is the absence of war and chaos or the presence of silence. This is not wrong, but we can go deeper.

True peace, as Fr. Reyes shared, can be achieved in three ways.

First, silence of the mind. When we let go of useless anxieties and fears, we find peace. We protect our mind from negative emotions.

When we stop worrying and calm our thoughts, we find peace. Let’s stop worrying about the future; it hasn’t arrived yet. We focus on what we can control. Let’s stop dwelling about the past; it’s over and we need to live in the present.

We avoid troubling our thoughts only when we allow God to be in control. Second, simplicity of the heart. What is it that truly makes us happy? What is it that truly makes us alive?

Would it be the things that we desire most like getting the latest gadget or our dream car that we have been saving last year?

Many rich people have attested that it isn’t the material things they possess that give them contentment in life. They only give temporary pleasure. Just like what the Little Prince said, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Simplicity is freedom from pretensions, materialism and debts, and uncertainties.

Choose to have less and just be happy. When we focus on the things that really matter, we find peace.

When we can determine what is at the center of our life, we find peace. Third, serenity of the soul. It is true that it is hard to forget pain. It takes a courageous heart to forgive.

It is also hard to calm a disturbed and troubled thoughts. It takes a lot of energy to tame the mind.

But when we acknowledge that our problem has a solution and every situation has a purpose, we create a healthy response to stress. We notice and appreciate the positive things rather than dwell on the negative.

A grateful heart always leads to inner peace. When we thank God for the year that has been and for today’s new experiences, when we thank our family for supporting us in what we do, when we thank our friends for laughing and crying with us, when we thank the opportunity to be alive every day, when we acknowledge every good thing that happens to us, we find peace.

So, let us remember the three S -- silence, simplicity, serenity. But first, we let go and we let God.

It would really be wonderful to be able to say, “Year 2022 is my best year ever. I found peace.”