March 19, 2017

Friends,

I’d like to share with you 3 temptations that seem to be prevalent in the American culture today. I call them the ABC’s.

A is for accumulation. There used to be a bumper sticker that read “The one who dies with the most toys, wins.” That mentality is what I’m talking about. It is typical by our obsession with buying, spending and shopping (which I believe is our national pastime). The need for the latest cellphone and more cable channels is indicative of this mentality. In our day, luxuries have become necessities, and bigger is better. We used to call it “Keeping up with the Joneses” but it now can be best described by the rock group Queen’s song; “I want it all and I want it now.” We’ll do what we have to do: max our credit card, get the second job, work the overtime - even if these choices have a negative effect on our family life. So accumulation is a huge temptation.

How do we overcome the temptation? Donate to charities and causes that appeal to us. Spend money on others instead of ourselves. Look honestly at our priorities. Do something about our credit card debt. Live a simpler Life. Stop shopping!

B is for becoming non-religious. Many Americans reject organized religion or God altogether. Fewer people ever discuss religion with their closest friends. People seem to be comfortable answering to no one but themselves, becoming their own moral compass. This temptation is captured in the expression “if it feels good, do it.” Fewer people belong to a faith community (Church). We have become spiritually “independents” as well as politically. Many Catholics who do celebrate the sacraments are doing so more culturally (that’s what Catholics do) than spiritually (a commitment to living a Christian life). There is a temptation to reject anything I was taught about God, and divorce myself from the Church. So becoming non-religious is a huge temptation.

How do we overcome the temptation? Invest quality time in a solution. Have honest conversations with those who believe, as well as those who don’t. Reexamine what you were taught, and decide what makes sense to you and what does not. Expand your understanding of God, e.g. I can tell you “a lot of what I was taught about God I no longer believe. I have now come to a different understanding of God. I am very comfortable growing and evolving as a Catholic.” Find a parish (if you are Catholic) where you feel welcomed and nurtured, you may have to travel a bit farther, but you deserve to be comfortable and at peace. Talk with someone you trust about your deepest questions. R E A D. Realize that just because you may have issues with something you were taught, or with the Church, doesn’t mean you cannot be a good Catholic.

I hate to do this but I have to leave the C out of ABC’s of temptations until next week’s bulletin. I hope I didn’t leave you hanging! This is like coming to the end of a wonderful “Law and Order” episode, when you can’t wait to see how it ends and all of a sudden these words come on the screen! To Be Continued…

Enjoy Life!
Fr. Ron Coyne

 

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