All of us have experienced sadness, disappointment or even tragedy in our lives. We expect children to throw tantrums, stick their tongue out at the teacher or refuse to pick up their toys so mom can vacuum the den. So when Cam Newton sulked at the post Super Bowl press conference, most non-Panthers fans believed that the young man has some growing up to do. We must all accept from the same hand the good, the bad and the ugly. Is it fair to say that we should accept that same standard of grown-up behavior from the disciples of our Lord? Picture for a moment some idiosyncrasies from the church going faithful.
1. March 27, 2016 is when the time changes, and we must adjust our clocks. I tell you now, weeks before it happens, that Catholics will cause havoc in our parking lots, mutter ugly sayings under their breath and blame Our Lord for departing the Empty Tomb ahead of time. By the way, did I mention this year Easter Sunday falls on March 27?
2. St. Peter asked Christ if forgiving someone seven times was enough? After more than 20 years of our annual diocesan Catholic appeal, with pretty much the same system in place, how many weekly announcements or reminders should we expect until we meet our assessment?
3. Parish registration is a pastoral tool that allows a pastor and his staff to cater to the needs of the people. I become aware of how many families attend our cathedral parish, how many single people, how many retired, housebound or children of school or college age. Yet, on a more or less continual basis, I am requested to sign letters of sponsorship for sacraments or other recommendations. These letters are often requested by folks who may be holier than the rest of us, but who neither give us pertinent personal information, nor do they use envelopes. Still, they have the expectation that I monitor them every Sunday among the family congregation at the 10:30 Mass?
4. Every disciple is, we are taught, a member of the Body of Christ. Some, the Scriptures tell us, are preachers, parents, carpenters, physicians or Seminoles. So, whether it is a breakfast prepared by the Knights of Columbus, food collection for the less fortunate or our children embracing a program to lend a hand to our retired veterans through the Independence project, it is the responsibility of each disciple to say, “Here I am Lord. Send me.”
5. There is a progression in all our lives. From the car seat for the infant to the driver’s license in the front seat, all my needs are met by mom and dad. Now, I pay taxes on April 15. If this is the life of the citizen, what should we expect from the disciple?