Sermon for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus – January 5, 2020 by Monsignor Patrick Perez
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Monsignor began the sermon by reciting the Hail Mary.
I just want to say a few words as we are still in the beginning of this year. I was trying to think up something useful for you because we are in the time of making New Year’s resolutions. Yes, it is the Feast of the Holy Name and I do preach about the Holy Name from time to time during the year, but since we are still fresh into our New Year’s resolutions I wanted to say a few words that would be helpful to you for those resolutions as they were.
Now at the beginning of every New Year everybody sets some kind of goals and makes some kinds of resolutions. I watched something on this because I was trying to figure out how to make resolutions that would be useful for you and how to keep them. Something like ninety plus percent of New Year’s resolutions fail within the first three weeks and are never recuperated and why do they fail? So I just wanted to quickly give you some guidelines while they’re still fresh in our hearts and minds.
First of all, remember that any resolution we make whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, a during-the-year resolution or whatever it is, has to have our end goal in mind. Now what is our end goal? Our end goal is the Beatific Vision; it’s union with God. Does that mean every New Year’s resolution or other resolution has to be a specifically religious or holy one? No it does not. But it cannot at least conflict with that; it has to be in line with that. It has to help it in some way. So I make a resolution let’s say to lose more weight this year. I’ve been losing weight; right after the 6th of January I’m back on my strict program, et cetera, but I’m not losing weight so I can look better at the beach. (Monsignor laughing) What a thought! No, that’s not it. I am looking better so I can be here longer for my people, all right. I don’t want to die some horrible early death. So that’s the kind of thing. It has to be at least in line with our goal of the Beatific Vision.
Now if you want to do something secular like redo your yard or something of that nature that’s fine. That doesn’t conflict with our heavenly goal. It could be secular but it has to at least be in line with our getting to the Beatific Vision.
I have this thing here where your New Year’s resolutions or other resolutions need to be – and we use this acronym SMART, S – M – A – R – T. So when you’re making a resolution think of these points I’m going to give you and your resolution is more likely to be successful.
S – M – A – R – T – each letter like I say stands for something. The first is SPECIFIC. I can see that a lot of resolutions fail because they’re nebulous, they’re not specific. They’re like say if you’ve ever had to go to a Novus Ordo priest for confession they give you these stupid penances and you go, well, what the heck was that. You’ve got to be nicer or you’ve got to go do something that will make somebody smile, just these stupid things. So you can’t have a nonspecific goal; it has to be specific. You can’t say I’m going to improve myself this year. Well, great, go to confession and you’ve just improved yourself, done. You could do that on the first of January and you’re all done with your New Year’s resolutions for the year – but at least that is specific, going to confession is specific but just improving yourself is not. Oh, I’ve got to become more patient. Okay, I would get impatient trying to figure out how to be more patient in that case. All right, so the first is Specific. Pick a very specific thing you want to do. There are a number of things you could do that would be very good. There’s the usual ones but let’s take an example, I want to read all four gospels this year, okay? It’s good, it’s going to bring you closer to the Beatific Vision and it’s specific. There are four gospels; there are four seasons in the year. You could look at the gospels and you could say, yeah, I can do that this year. Something specific – there are only four gospels unless you read one of these pamphlets that are being given out. There are probably sixteen more gospels. Okay, but there are only four gospels. So that’s specific.
It has to be MEASURABLE. It means it has to be quantifiable. I want to lose weight. Okay, I want to lose let’s say twenty pounds in six months. That’s measurable. I want to read the gospels. There are four gospels, that means I have to do one gospel per season. That’s measurable. It can’t be one of these up in the air kinds of things. Is it specific, you know exactly what it is, and can it be measured?
“A” has to be ATTAINABLE. It has to be something you can accomplish, that you can actually do. If you set a goal to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or something like that, well good. You can climb Mount Kilimanjaro and you know when you’re at the top and then you go back down again. That’s attainable, right? It meets the criteria more or less, except I’m not sure what it will do for your salvation except increase your love of God by looking at His majesty in creation. It has to be something you can actually attain.
So you’re short and overweight, you can’t set a goal of becoming an NBA star, okay? It’s not something that’s going to be attainable. There are lots of other things you can do but competing with the 7’5” athletes in the NBA is not one of them. It has to be relevant, meaning it has to have something to do with your life that says something to you and is kind of personal, it has to be relevant. For example, reading the four gospels – you know, for a Catholic that is a very good specific goal that is relevant to their life, they have a reason to do that. You can’t just decide one morning you’re going to learn Mayan hieroglyphics. I am going to become proficient in Mayan hieroglyphics. Now if you’re an ancient language scholar specializing in the Yucatan Peninsula or something like that, that’s relevant, okay? But to wake up and you want to show off at the next bachelor party or something by learning Mayan hieroglyphics – can you see, this guy’s a bore, all he’s been doing is drawing like coconut pods and stuff on the wall or coco pods, that was their big deal. That’s the one good thing about the Mayans. Forget about the human sacrifice. They gave us chocolate! (Monsignor laughing) And it was their money, too. But that would be completely irrelevant to your life and as doable as it might be and it might seem interesting, it’s irrelevant to your life and so you’re likely to let it go.
The gospels are not. You know, we have a cycle during the year of the gospels on Sundays but every so often you know you pick up the Bible and you read something else and you go, wow, I didn’t know that was part of the gospels. Our Lord said all this other great stuff and we don’t hear it on Sundays. Maybe I should read that. Because when you read these things you’ve never heard or read before that improves your spiritual life and your relationship with God so it’s relevant.
And finally it has to be TIME BOUND. “T” is for Time Bound, meaning it has to be done within a specific amount of time. It can’t be like, well, sometime I’d really like to improve myself and sometime I’d like to…… No, not sometime; this year meaning by the end of December, I want to have – now don’t everybody say that I told you that you have to read the four gospels. That’s an example. There are many examples and more than there are people here. You think up what it is that you want to accomplish this year and if it’s in line with these goals. So the final one is Time Bound.
I want to lose twenty pounds in six months or a year or I want to read the four gospels in one year; whatever it is, put in a new lawn and reseed a new lawn by the end of June – just one of these things that is Time Bound.
So just remember, it has to be Specific, it has to be Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound, S – M – A – R – T, and of course, in line with our goal of the Beatific Vision. So I am hoping that for all of us who have things we want to do during the year that we make a resolution for at the beginning that this is some kind of help for you because it is all part of what we’re doing to be saved. Just keep that in mind, that it has the goal of the Beatific Vision and that’s why we even make resolutions when it comes down to it in the end.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.