We don’t have much familiarity with kingship in modern American society. Kings tend to make us uneasy. Presidents, on the other hand — we can handle those, because we know we are a president’s boss. No matter how much power he has, we are the electorate. We are the source of that power. We’re comfortable with this arrangement.
It’s never easier to despair than when you glance up and take a good look at what’s going on in the world: disasters, natural and contrived, wars, resentments, rivalries, and divisions. It is almost too much sometimes, isn’t it? The twenty-four-hour news cycle doesn’t help.
“Sic transit gloria mundi,” is what they used to say at papal coronations. “So passes earthly glory.” Everything is fleeting. Nothing is here to stay. But in reality, some things are forever. Our actions on earth do have the potential to reverberate in eternity.
We can only speculate as to what the original intentions of the wealthy tax collector were. We know he wanted to see Jesus, of course — but what does that mean? Was he simply curious about this famous and controversial man? Was he moved by what he heard of Jesus’ teachings? Was he trying to catch a glimpse, or to get close?
If you roll your eyes at the mention of the term stewardship, it’s probably because, in the modern Church, stewardship has become something of a corporate buzzword. It’s often used interchangeably with the concepts of financial endowment and volunteerism.
As the seasons change, a lot of us like to clean out our homes and unload some of the junk we’ve acquired over the summer. One trendy approach to decluttering is the Marie Kondo method, named after the author who popularized it. As you do so, you hold up the items and ask yourself: “Does it spark joy?”
When you work in the Church, professionally or on a volunteer basis, you become familiar with the phenomenon known as “the zeal of the recent convert.” Sometimes, it really seems that the newly baptized are just stronger Catholics than the cradle Catholics.
Most of the evil in this world can be traced back to a feeling of entitlement that lurks deep within each of us — a frantic concern for our own good that we find difficult to shake. The same instinct that compelled Eve to reach for the fruit that would give her the knowledge of good and evil still compels people to focus on what they are owed, on what they have “earned,” on what they have “coming to them.”
There’s a certain respect that is shown by someone who takes the time to come to the door, ring the bell and wait to be greeted. Being willing to go through the niceties for the sake of appearances is a small act of deference on the part of the person doing the picking-up.
The “it” never really matters much. Taking out the trash, painting the bedroom, traveling to your in-laws’ for Christmas. The heart of the matter is the sacrifice and desire. That’s what it all hangs on. Am I with a person who will sacrifice for me?