Saturday, November 19, 2016

What is your excuse?

We all make them and we all think ours is the best. Excuses seem to be a part of our everyday life. Whether late for an appointment or delayed in completing a task, we all make excuses as to why we haven’t done something. Of course we don’t normally call them excuses. For us they are reasons. The word choice is crucial because rationalizing something creates the illusion that it may not have been within our control. For example, “I’m sorry I’m late, but I chose to spend a few minutes on a project that I knew I wouldn’t finish because I figured you would cut me some slack,” sounds much worse than, “Sorry I’m late, but I had to finish something.” Of course, that’s not to say that real obstacles to our agenda don’t exist. Traffic accidents, bad weather, illnesses, and other unexpected circumstances can always stand in our way to what we had planned. But let’s face it....MOST of the time it is just an excuse because we made a choice. Consider today’s Gospel Reading:
Luke 9:57-62 (RSV) - At that time, as Jesus was going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
How many times have we CHOSEN to be absent from Church by making excuses as in today’s Gospel reading? “I’m sorry Father but I had to do some paperwork for the restaurant,” when what we really mean to say is, “Listen Father, I know you want me in Church but I want to have a life outside my restaurant so I get my paperwork done on Sunday morning. It allows my family to go an enjoy life every once and a while.”

If we are honest with ourselves we can admit that making the time (on average two hours) on a Sunday morning to attend Divine Liturgy isn’t enough to ruin any plans we may have for enjoying an outdoor day with family. Nor is it enough to suggest that there isn’t a “different” two hours we can find for paperwork. So let’s quit with the excuses and plan to attend Divine Liturgy EVERY Sunday and find time for the other things after Church. Until we make spending time with God actually FOLLOWING Him we won’t be “fit for the kingdom of God.”

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