You Say You Want a Resolution…
So now that the “newness” of the new year is behind us, and all we are left with is “the year”, how are you doing with those New Year’s resolutions? Are you still exercising more? Are you still eating healthier? Are you still trying to lose weight? Are you still not smoking; drinking; being angry; living in abject debauchery?
I, for one, am happy to report that I am still going strong with my resolution. Which was, as I resolve every year, to not make a New Year’s resolution.
As a kid, New Year’s meant nothing more to me than vacation was almost over, and I would have to go back to school. As a young adult, it was simply a day to watch 24 straight hours of college football and eat nothing but crappy food like bagel bites, taquitos, mini-corndogs, hot wings, nachos and shoot cheez whiz into my mouth straight from the can. Now, all it means is having to endure the senseless stupidity of a barrage of fireworks being set off all because of a single tick of the clock to midnight.
I never understood what it is about a subjective moniker for a capricious point in time that makes people think that it is either 1) significant enough to recognize every time it comes around and 2) that the marking of a simple day provides anyone with the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button on the old existential clock? I mean really; does a new year’s resolution have any bigger impact than a May 14th resolution?
What if, instead of calling this past New Year’s Day January 1, 2022, we called it day 738,535.5; which is the exact number of complete 360-degree rotations of the earth from what we would normally consider January 1, 0000 A.D. based on the Gregorian Calendar? Doesn’t seem so monumental an achievement if the day had changed 700,000+ times before now does it?
Why are we so inclined to celebrate various occurrences or experiences that happened in the past? For example, I will soon turn fifty-a-something-or-other-yadda-blah-blah years-old. What is it about that day that requires any additional or a special marking of that day? After all, I will still be a just as out-of-shape, unhealthy, not-funny (according to my 14-year-old), loud, obnoxious, gargantuan jerk as I was the day before and the day before that the day before…
If time is constant, and what was is, and what is was, shouldn’t something that is significant enough that is typically recognized once a year, year after year, be noteworthy enough to appreciate and celebrate it every day?
This past Christmas, the Mass that I attended had so many people, we had to set up rows of chairs outside the Church itself and tap in the A/V system for them to hear. Of course, it also might have been that every other row of pews was taped off because of our six-feet spatial distancing adherence…but still, that’s a lot of people, right? In two short months, we will celebrate Easter and will probably go through this whole situation again.
But here’s the thing: Why celebrate these two monumental events each only once a year? The fact is, Christmas and Easter occur and are celebrated every day. We just don’t always pay attention. Whether it be during a daily Mass, a private Mass, a funeral Mass, a nuptial Mass, or a typical Sunday, bring it in under an hour because the 49ers play at 10:00, Catholic Mass. It is celebrated when the Creed is recited. If reciting the Nicene Creed, the part “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.” Bam! Right there. Christmas. And then, in the very next line: “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day…” Wait for it…Boom! Easter.
Of course, on those occasions the Apostles Creed is recited, it comes in the form of “I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead…”
Conceived and born (Christmas). Died and rose again (Easter). Two traditionally celebrated events that represent the crux of Catholicism summed up in a few short lines, which is uttered by thousands of priests every day. And since God transcends all space and time, it is quite easily comprehensible to think that Jesus is consistently being born and being crucified and dying and is resurrected all at the same time, in every single moment, constantly, continuously, endlessly, unceasingly. And if we believe and accept this, in our hearts and minds; souls and spirit, then what need does any of us have for a New Year’s resolution? Because, instead, we would all be resolved to God. And what better resolution could there be?