Wednesday in the Thirty-first Week of Ordinary Time

The parable in today’s gospel resonates with me strongly, particularly at the moment. At the high school where I teach, I also work in the theatre. In particular, my main responsibility is getting the sets constructed. As it happens, one of the main elements of the set for our Fall production this year is a tall platform to serve as a balcony, where not only must it support Three Stooges-style physical comedy, but be able to rotate 180 degrees. Thus, I and the students on the tech crew have very much been living out the first part of the parable that Jesus gives us today.

As we build the set, each element is planned out. I sit with the crew, go over what the play requires in terms of how many doors, stairs, windows, etc. are explicitly needed by the script. We go over pictures of other productions to get ideas, and hammer out our own. Hours are spent figuring out how much lumber is needed, and of what kind (likewise with things such as screws, brackets, and nails). Then we build. We step back to get a good view. We kick and shake it to see if it is sturdy or in need of bracing. And then, for anything a student has to stand on—like a balcony—I get up and jump on it to be double-sure that it is safe. The stage crew puts this care into the balcony not only because it is a reflection of our skill and ability, but because we know that the actors depend on this care when they are the ones running on the balcony and using the set.

This is an important element to our faith. If we reflect, we recognize how none of us came to our belief in Jesus alone. For myself, I was baptized at the request of my parents, taught basic prayers by my mom, catechized by volunteers, and encouraged to grow in this faith by friends and family. Like the tower that is built in today’s parable, our faith does not just benefit the builder. Moreover, the sort of people Jesus was speaking about in the parable wanted not only to house the present generation with their great structures, but future generations as well. The tower might serve even as a monument for the family for ages. But in a few weeks’ time, I will tear down the set with the stage crew. Eventually, the great towers and buildings of the world will also collapse. Only our Faith will survive. So it behooves us now to look for the weak points and shore it up, so that it will last. Because one day, how we lived out the Catholic Faith in our own lives will be the only monument that matters.

November 6th, 2013