Word Magazine June 1981 Page 24
By Father James C. Meena
A T.V. commercial for a well known piece of photographic equipment starts off by showing a young married man with a child in the background saying, “Someday I’m going to get a . . . movie camera for my child.” The next scene shows him as a middle-aged man with an athletic teenaged son in the background and saying, “Someday I’m going to get a . . . movie camera for my son.” Then it shows him as an old man, now with another baby on his lap, his grandchild, and he says, “Someday I’m going to get a camera for my grandchild.” It’s quite obvious that the commercial is urging us to purchase a movie camera, but the hidden lessons are an indication on the degree to which we put things off and are symptomatic of the times in which we live.
It doesn’t surprise me that successful people never seem to put off until tomorrow what has to be done today. They always seem alert to the needs of every situation and they attend to those needs as they require attention.
St. Paul says that each of us has been given gifts according to the Grace of God. (Romans: 12:6) Each of us has the capability of preaching, teaching, doing good, giving alms, ministering to those who are in need, and expressing God’s concern for His creation. But unfortunately we procrastinate, saying, “someday,” but that day never seems to come unless, of course, we are faced with some crisis. Then suddenly we have a mad rush of people who want to play “Let’s Make A Deal” with God. Many of you are too young to remember the years of 1933-1945. I am not that young and I remember vividly those years when, during the height of the depression and in the midst of our poverty the Church was nearly empty on Sunday mornings. The faithful were just “too busy.” WPA was providing jobs, and those who could not work were able to keep body and soul together through the welfare system. Our people generally worked and they took fairly good care of themselves but when their bellies were full their spirits were empty. I remember standing up in that choir loft as a young man looking down on 30 or 40 souls coming to worship in the house of God. But as the war clouds began to gather over Europe we saw a few more people in Church . . . those who were aware of the coming catastrophes of World War II. But we weren’t involved in the War, yet!
Then our young men were inducted into the Armed Forces, even though we were not yet at war. They began to say farewell to kith and kin, to don the uniform of their nation and go off to prepare for battle. Still the Church was not filled. Then, Pearl Harbor and the general mobilization and all the young men were called up to the service of the nation. The Church suddenly became filled with people coming to pray, not for the salvation of their souls, not for the forgiveness of their sins, but to make bargains with God. But as soon as the crisis passed, those bargains remained unkept.
Today our bellies are full again. We enjoy a greater degree of affluence than any other nation in the world and we are still putting off the dedication that God requires of us. We passively worship God and think that that’s enough, and it’s not. It is only by a faith of action, a faith of doing that grows out of a deep sense of commitment that we are able to manifest His gifts and make them real and cause them to have meaning.
We should not compare ourselves to other religious bodies, nor even be concerned when other people, who consider themselves to be Christians, make us feel guilty because they manifest their faith in a way that is special and peculiar to their theological beliefs. But we should strive, “to show your love without pretense, and sincerely prefer good to evil. Love each other as brothers should and have a profound respect for each other. If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Don’t give up, and keep on praying. If any of the Saints are in need, you must share with them and you should make hospitality your special concern.” (Romans 12:6-14) That kind of faith doesn’t allow for procrastination.