Sunday, November 14, 2010

Talking head

Sometimes I feel like the parent of a teenager. Well, I think that’s the feeling – it seems to resonate with what I am hearing from those of you who are, actually, parents of teenagers. I can only guess, so you’ll have to let me know.

I feel like…every time I actually get to talk to you, I wind up nagging you about something. Take out the trash. Tuck in your shirt. Make your offertory commitment. Drive safely. Say your prayers.

I feel like… we never get to spend time together. You’re rushing to something; I’ve got something I am trying to get done. Somebody has a crisis, and you, or I, or both of us, have to rush to go do something about it.

I feel like… we are speaking two different languages. I don’t think I always understand what you’re saying to me, and I think I don’t do a good job of letting you understand me, and when we talk, it’s often not about anything important.

Here’s an actual kitchen conversation between Father DeRosa and me within the past month. Fr. D.: Do they know how much we love them? Me: Nope. Substitute “Mom” for him and “Dad” for me, and see if it fits parents of a teenager. You can easily figure out who are the “kids” we are talking about: Y’all.

So here I am this weekend, using my twelve minutes of your time for the week to nag you (Make your offertory commitment). And I hate it because it makes it hard for me to help you know why this is important; to know who you are.

In November, these last days of the liturgical year, the Scripture presented to us in the liturgy can be pretty apocalyptic – literally: end of the world, destruction of everything good, death and disaster. That’s just typical parental exaggeration, right? Who needs that bother?

Well, Holy Mother Church is trying to tell you the same thing the sainted mother of any seventeen-year-old who has a license and the car keys: you’re fabulous, but you’re mortal. It matters. Pay attention and choose wisely.

It’s not a subject that you rush to bring up with someone you love. You are mortal. You’re gonna die. No, it’s not something that is likely to happen terribly soon, except for a few of us…but we cannot be certain just who that is. You need to know that, so you can be ready.

And just like any teenage driver, you can take steps to make yourself safe. Many things – many very attractive, exciting, enjoyable, and popular things -- will not help you: Jesus said, "All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

But thanks be to God, there IS something that you can do about it. There is someone who can make you safe from death’s darkness, the eternal oblivion that yearns to devour our unwary souls. Fasten your seatbelt: cling to Christ Jesus. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.

So, have a good time. Enjoy your friends. You are fabulous, but you are mortal. Drive safely. Make your offertory commitment. Say your prayers. I love you.

Monsignor Smith