Thomas G. Cronin
Thomas G. Cronin

I have always been intrigued by New Year’s resolutions. Committing to a new beginning at the start of a new year is commendable, but if we truly wanted to transform ourselves wouldn’t we make a decision to address or improve things once something was identified?

Sometimes we need extra motivation and the beginning of the year might very well be the new beginning some of us need to take the first step toward something great. But, it is consistently reported that the majority of New Year’s resolutions crash and burn by mid-February. In my opinion, these goals fall short because they are driven by an extrinsic influence like a date.

Our decision to resolve to do something — whether it is to become more physically fit, financially independent, be a more loving and caring spouse, or transform our lives in a more meaningful way — will only successfully happen when we are prepared and committed to transformation regardless of the month of the year.

As it relates to our spirituality, God loves us unconditionally, but our love for God will only grow deeper when we commit to focusing on and nurturing that relationship. I was reflecting on the struggles at many of our parishes and an old Woody Allen quote struck me: “80 percent of success is just showing up.” How true! Being in communion with our sisters and brothers in Christ celebrating in the Eucharist in-person is Church. As St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, we all have many gifts and when we come together to share those gifts, we glorify God by being one body. Our unity is found in community. 

There is immense beauty in the virtual Mass, especially for the homebound or those with chronic health issues. But, how many others have embraced the convenience of this new routine of watching the Mass, rather than participating in it with our parish community? St. Paul’s metaphor of the human body is a beautiful visualization about the unity of the body and the unity of our Church. Each part of the body or member of the Church community makes it complete. Our call to action is to invite and encourage our friends, families and neighbors to come back to Church to make our body whole again. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith — we must be participants at the table, not distant bystanders. 

Evangelization takes effort and courage. Pray about it and call upon the Holy Spirit to utilize your gifts. It may be uncomfortable to invite or encourage people to re-engage in their faith, but that is our mission. Sometimes just showing up is half the battle. I pray that we all have the courage to be the catalyst in getting someone to “just show up.” Stay focused on God’s will and make this period of Ordinary Time before Lent, not ordinary, but extraordinary.

Contact me with any questions about boosting evangelization at your parish at Thomas.Cronin@
rcda.org or by visiting www. rcda.org/evangelization. Follow me on Instagram: tom_rcda.