New Year Resolution

By: Father Francois Beyrouti
451 West Madison Avenue
PlacentiaCa 92870

A man once prayed: “God this has been a great day. So far I have not gotten upset at anyone. I did not lie. I did not steal anything. I did not swear. I am so proud of myself that I have not done anything wrong today. But in a few minutes I will be getting out of bed so I will definitely need your help to make sure that the rest of the day goes just as well.”
Our prayer this morning may be very similar, so far we have not done much wrong but we are going to need some help from God to make it through the rest of the day.
Also, as we start a new year we could all say how great it has been so far. We are so excited that everything is going well this year: we have not gotten upset at anyone and we have been kind to our family and friends. For everyone here today, you can also be proud that in the year 2015, you have come to Church every single Sunday. This indeed has been a great year, but in a few days we are going to need a little more help from God.  ‘We need a little help from God’ should be our focus every hour of every day in every year.
This is the time of year when most people make resolutions. However, before we make resolutions it is important for us to clarify our reasons for making them and the overall goals that we are trying to achieve. For example many people focus on losing weight, but that is not a goal. Better health is the goal. Another resolution may be that I want to stop arguing with a friend or family member. Once again that is not a goal in itself. The real goal is to have a greater peace of mind in your life and to have healthier and more functional friendships.
When we keep our focus on the overall goal of our resolutions we will enjoy the process and because we are enjoying the process we will be more successful in achieving not only our particular resolutions but more importantly our long term goals that will endure. Therefore if you have already set some resolutions ask yourself how those resolutions fit into your overall long terms goals for your life.
In addition to the resolutions we have already made, what are some of our spiritual resolutions and what are some of our overall goals for this year as individuals and as a Church? In today’s epistle, Saint Paul tells Saint Timothy: “As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)
This verse focuses on four points. Three of these points are resolutions and the last is the long-term goal. “Be steady,” “endure suffering,” and “do the work of an evangelist” are resolutions that we can make. We all want to be consistent and reliable, we all want to be patient when someone wrongs us, and we all want to learn more about our faith and share it with others. But why do we want to do these things? Are they simply nice things to do or do we want people to like us because they see these qualities in us? If these are reasons for having these resolutions then we will not endure.
The fourth part of that sentence “fulfil your ministry” gives us the overall goal. We are mostly used to thinking of ministry as something that a priest does but we all have a ministry. The challenge for all of us to focus on what is our ministry?
There are various degrees of ministry. You may be a father or mother, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a student or teacher, an employee or employed. You have a ministry in your various roles in life. How well are you enduring in your responsibilities in these ministries and how well do you endure suffering when difficulties arise?
“My parents are annoying.” “My children are irresponsible.” “School is too difficult.” “My students don’t put any effort into their work.” “My work environment is so unpleasant.” We can come up with many more problems with people and the situations around us, but by doing so we will be overlooking our ministry to those people and in those situations.
You are a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, student, teacher, employee, employed, whether you like it or not. We need to embrace our roles and realize that these are parts of our ministry in life. The fact that we will have difficulties in these roles should be taken for granted. That is exactly when we need to say: “In a few minutes I will definitely need your help to make sure that everything goes well.”
As we begin this new year with excitement and with many resolutions, let us also focus on our bigger life goals. Happiness in all these aspects of our life can best be achieved by inviting God to work in our lives.
We may have resolutions to be better at something, but our larger goal for this year should be to thank God for all the blessings He has given us and to find ways that we can make these blessings grow this year. So far everything has been going well this year, to make sure that the rest of the year goes just as well we will need a little help from God.
Copyright © 2015 Father Francois Beyrouti, All rights reserved.