Who made a new years resolution? Who made one that had to do with their religious practice? Very often these “new years resolutions” are not very important – that is, they have little to do with God's Will for our lives, a.k.a. our vocation to be saints. Maybe that's why so many of them fail: they never mattered much anyways. We all worship something, because we were created for it: to worship/adore God. He has willed throughout history to manifest this goal in stages from creation, through the Old Testament, completed in Christ for all peoples.
So, in today's homily, I want you to find for yourself a spiritual resolution, or let's call it a “new years revolution.” For it is truly a revolution to live a life of holiness and do our part to overthrow the chaos of evil and sin in our world. Some possibilities include: a more structured, consistent prayer life; monthly confession; make spiritual retreat; not miss Sundays / Holy Days; use Sunday as a true day of rest & restoration with God & family; read the saints (about); learn about the Bible.
In today's Gospel, we have two examples about what our vocation is meant to include. The first example is the star, and it shows us two things. 1. We have to spend ourselves (using what God gave us, sacrificially). Stars burn up, they give themselves, just like the Easter candle, representing Christ's self-sacrificial love on the cross. 2. The star shows others the way to Our Lord. Evangelize by our love, by our actions, by our words, too.
The second example of our vocation is the magi. 1. The first thing they did is they got up and went. They showed up, they responded. We also have to go and seek God out: in Church, in the sacraments, in personal prayer, in the poor and needy. Just like with n.y. resolutions, it has to be more than just a nice idea in our minds: it needs to be practiced. 2. Bring something. The magi first bring their hearts, their very selves, all their longings and pains. But they also represent those in gifts. So also at every weekend Mass we have a collection, and the procession of the bread and wine to the altar represents what we carry in our hearts – both the ordinary and the special things. 3. They adore. This is what it was all about in the first place: the came to find God, they kneel down, take off their crowns, and worship the infant king. They look at God who reveals Himself to those who seek Him. Do we do this? Do we look at God with the eyes of our souls, kneeling down and letting Him be king? We all know what the answer should be, but it's very easy for us to fall into the wrong spiritual position while we are here at Mass, or during our personal prayer time. Let us adore Him. 4. Lastly, they bring that experience home. The wise men are changed, which is one reason they leave by a different road. If we adore God, we will be changed. This shouldn't frighten you. God promises only your good. So be changed, and take it home with you: that is, take it into your everyday life, and be a different person, a person changed because you have adored God Himself, a person who has made one more step toward your only true happiness: being a saint.
So what is your New Years Revolution? Keep praying for God to show you what He wants from you. Maybe it is that basic need for 10 or 15 minutes of time dedicated specifically to God in prayer, or making Sundays holy, caring for the poor, giving up something that wastes our time/energy, regular confession, an annual retreat, whatever. You choose, with God's guidance. CCC 2697
Good intentions are nothing without a concrete, specific plan of action. For example, my aspirations to learn Italian won't go very far if I don't actually start working on it – which is why I don't speak much better than I did four years ago! So get specific and figure out how to do it. This is your first annual Epiphany gift to God, a sign of your adoration of God, a New Years Revolution toward being a saint! May Our Eucharistic King bring your good work to completion.