Sermon: New year’s resolutions: An occasion for self dedication

We are now in the second month of 2009; many people have made some resolutions of the things they would like to accomplish within the coming twelve months. For those who have not done it yet, it is not too late to begin. Among those who have this good habit at the beginning of every year, a good number really do stick to their resolutions and plan their life accordingly. For some others, we do not even remember what our resolutions were by the second half of the year!

We are now in the second month of 2009; many people have made some resolutions of the things they would like to accomplish within the coming twelve months. For those who have not done it yet, it is not too late to begin.

Among those who have this good habit at the beginning of every year, a good number really do stick to their resolutions and plan their life accordingly.

For some others, we do not even remember what our resolutions were by the second half of the year! We often blame this on the forgetfulness which is embedded in our human nature.

But why do some succeed and others fail to follow their resolutions? Like many such theoretical questions, it is hard to get the right answer.

It is obvious however, that those whose resolutions are realistic and down to earth, and done with an element of commitment and self-dedication, find it easier to stick to them.

And of course those who build their castles in the sky fail to reach up there in the dream-world in order to make their dreams come true. 

However difficult it may be, making resolutions to follow during the course of the year is not only a wise thing to do but is of extreme necessity since man is essentially a planning subject.

For man, not to plan is planning to fail. Resolutions of the New Year do help us to have a more concrete vision of the period ahead and this intensifies our capacity to focus more on what we are doing.

For Christians who admire and adore the lifestyle of Jesus, there are some occasions in his life when we see him making different resolutions. He made some resolutions during his baptism in River Jordan by John Baptist (Mk 1:7-11).

We celebrate this occasion on the Feast of Baptism of the Lord on the first Sunday of our liturgical year. As human beings, through baptism we are born again by water and Holy Spirit and we are cleansed from the original sin and become sons and daughters of God in a special way.

With this understanding of baptism, Jesus did not need to be baptised in the same way as we need it. The reason why he decided to be baptised was to make a resolution of commitment to do whatever was necessary in order to promote the cause of the kingdom of God on earth.

It is due to this spirit of making a resolution of commitment, that Jesus, before he began his earthly mission, decided to associate and to identify with the community of men and women who were dedicated to promote the cause of the kingdom of God.

This he did through the initiation by baptism. Through the same baptism, Jesus of Nazareth was empowered and strengthened by the Holy Spirit in view of the mission which was awaiting him.

Any resolutions that Jesus had in mind were to make him consecrated, self –dedicated to the times that awaited him. In other words, the resolutions of Jesus had a meaning not in what he was going to get, but rather in the self preparedness to serve God and the people.

That element lacks at times in our resolutions. Ours focus more on things out there that we would like to achieve, to get or to learn.

Taking the example of Jesus, our resolutions should rather aim at making us better people, more prepared, self-dedicated, in view of contributing to the well being of mankind.

Such resolutions should aim first of all, at improving our own quality of life with the main objective of becoming better people and at the service of others.

As we continue to meditate on our resolutions of this year 2009, let us imitate the style of Jesus before he took on his earthly ministry.

As we continue to formulate our resolutions we should ask ourselves the right questions. Instead of asking ourselves what we shall get out of this year, let us rather concentrate on our contribution as Christians in order to promote the kingdom of God and to better man’s well being. 

Far from self-alienation, the resolutions that we may reach in this way, may help us to grow stronger in our relationship with God and with fellow human beings. That way we may resolve to serve God and man more faithfully.

What is often lacking in our resolutions is an equal determination to improve our relationship in those two dimensions, both vertically toward our creator and horizontally toward our neighbour.

For us Christians, these two aspects are essential for our Christian growth and you can not have one without the other because they are two sides of the same coin.

Ends

 

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