We celebrate the Baptism of Jesus this Sunday. We know that Christmas is not just for a day, but for a whole season. Last Sunday was the “Epiphany” or the “manifestation” of Jesus Christ to the world through the wise men. This weekend we have another manifestation to close the season of Christmas with God the Father and the Holy Spirit manifesting themselves to Jesus at the start of his public ministry which we celebrate in the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. That’s why we took down all the Christmas trees and other decorations. We hear in the readings for this Sunday how the Spirit was present to Jesus and how God was “well pleased” with his “beloved Son.” The descent of the Spirit and the voice of God from heaven mark the final epiphany of the Christmas season.
It is this Spirit of God who prompted us to welcome the New Year with a renewed sense of hope and joy. Many of us have made New Year resolutions. Now that we are some 10 days into the New Year, one question to ask is: ARE WE GIVING UP ON OUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS..?? If you are not one among 8% of Americans who stick to their New Year Resolutions (according to research from the University of Scranton), you may be tempted to give up on making or keeping any for this year. But wait… there is hope if only we are willing to change the way we think.
The concept of “akrasia” will explain why we fail. ‘Akrasia’ is the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will. Even Socrates, who lived some 400 years before Christ, investigated this human enigma which is the paradox of wanting to do something beneficial, but failing to do it. We fail because the benefits are delayed and we’re impatient. You want to exercise, but the results aren’t immediate, so you tell yourself you’ll start later. ‘Akrasia’ is why we procrastinate, and it’s directly tied to why we need to change the way we think. If you want to run a marathon, you don’t begin training by running 26.2 miles. You get your body used to running shorter distances and work your way up. Hence the key to accomplishing any goal is to focus on manageable tasks instead of the grand outcome.
Past failures can be used as stepping stones to learning, growth and success. So, give yourself another chance this New Year! Make a practical resolution that you can keep! And daily ask the help of the New-Born King to keep that one resolution!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal