What is time, asks St Augustine; "If no one asks me, I know; if I want to explain it to someone who asks me, I do not know." (Confessions, Book XI) Time is a mystery which we live with daily, and we are satisfied to consider it as something as meaningless as 'duration', something which we somewhat neurotically have to measure as 'periods of duration'.
Yet here's a thing: the Church does not live in time; time is in the Church! Who but the Pope has ever established, and changed, a calender? What is unique about the calender is that it is oriented by Jesus Christ (rather than the Pope). His incarnation uniquely establishes meaning and orientation in the mystery of time. Time is now His, and He gives it to us as a gift. It is the Church which again, is uniquely disposed to receive the gift of time. The Liturgy of the Church expresses our real relationship with time.
The purpose of time is Christ; it receives its meaning and its fulfillment in Him. The Church knows and understands this; she knows that time is given in order to be marked, imprinted, and consecrated by the Person of Christ. That is why this new year is the Year of the Lord, 2013. This new year is not another period of the passage of duration, to be entered into as something fundamentally ambiguous. No, time is a part of the Mystery of Christ, by which He enters into human life, and the life of the Universe, in order to transform it. This is the real meaning of the splendid fireworks that we have seen. 2013 is already in good hands, and it comes loaded with Grace. What a gift - and He comes every day in the Mass!