Tuesday in the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Yesterday, the example of St. Charles challenged us and made us ask how we would respond on those moment of struggle. In today’s gospel, Jesus likewise poses this challenge to us, with a warning for those who do not rise to the occasion. He provides a parable of a man who want to throw a dinner party, and invites many people, but they decline the invitation. As enjoyable the idea of a dinner party seems, the reality is that each of these people has something they would rather do. As much as they may want to go, the dinner party is simply inconvenient.
This is an attitude most of us have at one point or another towards God. This attitude, rather than something more malevolent, is really at the heart of most of our day to day sins. When our faith and our desires make competing claims, the desires win. Getting in a cutting remark about a coworker competes with treating the coworker well, and we choose the remark. Helping a panhandler on the street competes with our wish to be unbothered, and we choose unbothered. A sporting event (be it one we’re in, one we’re a fan of, or one a family member is in) competes with Mass, and we choose the sport. To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been tried and found inconvenient.
If we want to pass on our faith to the next generation, the most important thing is to show them how we live out this faith when it is inconvenient. Doing something when we would rather not is usually a fairly concrete way of showing how important it is. We can tell children all we want about how Mass is the heavenly banquet and loving Jesus is very important; however, if we choose a soccer match over Mass, children will realize what is more important still. As we examine our lives, and those places where living out a Christian life has been most inconvenient for us, we might make a plan to avoid falling into the same ruts. Ask in advance how you will respond in those moments of conflict, and stick to it. Ask in advance how you will remind yourself that what you are doing may not be convenient thing, but it is an important thing.