Our popcorn harvest, planted for fun, picked and shucked by Jazz and Mama
The Gospel reading for Mass on September 2nd was taken from Mark 7. The various excerpts of the chapter included the Pharisees condemning those not following the traditions of the elders and Christ's reply - basically condemning lip service. The supporting readings also discussed rule following, interpretation and doing rather than just saying. This, of course, is my "nutshell" explanation. Feel free to visit those readings here.
The pastor started his homily with an anecdote from his recent past. While attending a friend's bar-b-que, he witnessed a preschooler finish eating his very messy corn-on-the-cob and run toward the play fort area to join the other children. Halfway there, the little boy stopped, turned, and headed to his father, asking to have his hands washed. The boy remembered the family rule to wash after eating and was simply tending to that chore.
Fr. John David went on to discuss the idea of chores, rules, guidelines - choose your favorite term. Do we follow the rules of society, family, church as a means to a desired end? Or, do we follow simply because heeding to a set of guidelines levels the playing field, so to speak.
Isn't it just easier to see and appreciate the goodness and happiness that follows Christian behavior?
Our family has discussed this topic at many meals and during many car rides over the last few weeks. We have chore assignments, certainly, but why? To oppress the children? To support the household? To keep Mama sane? On any given day, some or all might have a grain of truth to them.
In reality, we have standards of behavior for our home that simply allow all that reside within to give and receive grace and love. When the clean towels are actually stacked in the linen closet, there's no screaming for help from a dripping shower user. When everybody pitches in to help with dinner (or play with the "5 o'clock melt-down child"), there's better and funnier table conversation. Giving and receiving without ulterior motive is the goal.
Not everyday is a success. Hardly. But some days, it clicks and we see the glory that Christ allows us all to share - with one another.
PS - We attended Saturday evening's Mass this past weekend because I was scheduled to sing. As Fr. John David approached the ambo to proclaim the Gospel, Irish Jig clapped her hands and told us it was time to hear about the messy little boy washing his hands. She'd remembered! Then, when a different story was started, she loudly announced that he was telling the wrong story and to make him stop.