November 26, 2011 - Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

Jesus does not want us to burden ourselves with the anxieties and stresses caused by useless tasks. Consider how much stress has been experienced over trifles: that a game is won, that many people come to a party, that a television program not be missed. Consider the tears that have been shed since the creation of the earth over party dresses and other amusements.

Recreation is supposed to refresh us, but we modern people are worn out by our recreations. Video games are hard work. Television keeps us up at night. Sports involve crowds and expense. We would be happy to avoid all the trouble, but we have come to believe that the trouble makes us happy.

Whenever the thought occurs that we ought to be less of this world, less devoted to its distractions, the tempter asks, “What is the harm in a little television? Why not spend a night partying and drinking?” Jesus tells us why not. Our lives were not meant to be wasted. Time does not exist to be killed. We are servants of the Most High, and we ought to have a purpose to our lives so definite that we know what we want to do with every minute.

Our purpose is two-fold: to love and to be strengthened. We are strengthened, as Jesus says, by praying constantly. Every moment is an opportunity either to pray or to love. If we consider the world in this way, there is no time for drunkenness or entertainment. We know this, but we are afraid; we are afraid of wasting our lives. We are afraid that the whole world will be having fun, and we will miss out.

Jesus does not make a new commandment here against fun. Instead, he tells us to guard ourselves lest our hearts be burdened. Happiness does not come from indulging boredom. We know how our hearts are lightened by love and prayer. It is a wonder that the tempter is able to convince us that we want anything else.

Yet he does convince us. We fall over and over again, choosing the pretty fruit and forgetting that paradise is all around us. It is not that these things Jesus mentions and I mention are sins exactly. Rather, they are lost opportunities. It would be a sin to miss too many opportunities. We are afraid of missing out on fun, but then we miss out on life. Do not be afraid to do great things for God!