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I noticed that the number of hits to my blog have dropped dramatically after Easter Sunday. Leads me to think that peoples interest in the faith is at a peak during Lent, and as soon as Easter comes and goes, so does their interest in the faith. Kind of sad really…
It’s sort of like the world series or supper bowl, lots of non fans become fans during the big games. They look up the stats and follow all the games leading up to the big game but once the game is over they are back to their normal lives.
I can almost understand it with sports, all the hype surrounding it and all, but with my faith life, I just can’t understand it. But I am always trying to learn more and more about my faith, so I just have a hard time understanding people who do not. To me, my faith life is more important that any world series or supper bowl or word cup game, but it seems to me that more people are interested in that than in their faith. why is this, what makes people care more about a sporting event, that will have no bearing on their eternal life, than about their faith life, that will have a direct bearing on there after life?
This question has always bothered me, as a youth minister and catchiest I have dedicated my life to teach youth about their faith life. I always strive to keep myself active in the pursuit of knowledge concerning my faith life. And I always was amazed at how many of my young students knew more about a rock star or sports star than their own faith. Many knew the names of obscure reality TV stars but not the name of their local parish priest.
Amazing at best.
But I can not hold the youth responsible, I must look at the culture and parents. the culture we live in looks down upon faith, treats it almost as a illness to be cured. The schools can not or will not discuse faith and it’s impact on American society, all references to religion have been removed or watered down from our textbooks and teachers are encouraged, in the name of incisiveness, to exclude any discussion of faith and religion from the class room. And sad as this may sound, many parishes do the same, they have watered down the teachings of the Church to make them more acceptable to a modern secular society that does not want to be told that they have done wrong. They teach a dogma that is bubble gum theology made to make you feel warm and cozy with who you are, not calling you to become who God wants you to be. They have reduced the Ten Commandments to Ten Suggestions and the Beatitudes have become a mantra for the “Jesus loves you” cult that is growing in our faith.
Now before everyone flies off the handle, let me explain… Yes, Jesus loves you and me, and yes that message is important, but when it becomes the only message we are missing the point. Jesus loves me as I am, but He is still calling me to a greater version of myself, He is still challenging me to become what it is God is asking of me. If I just teach the “Jesus loves me” mantras than I am short changing the youth, I am committing a grave injustice to them. I would even go so far as to say I would be sinning. Jesus himself called people to a greater version of themselves, just think of the story of the rich young man and how Jesus called him to take the extra step to join Him. Yet the young man was not able to do so and left Jesus. Now if Jesus followed the whole “Jesus loves me mantra” He would have simple told the young man, follow me, come as you are, I love you and you don’t have to do a darn thing”. But Jesus did not say that, he said, “Give up all you have and than come and follow me”
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:17-25)
Compare: Matthew 19:16-30; Luke 18:18-30
We all are loved by Jesus just as we are, yet Jesus knows we can be more, we can be better and He calls us to this greatness. Yet all to often we are teaching our youth that all is good “Jesus loves you”. What an injustice to our youth, what a travesty of our responsibility!
The home life, often times, is no better. Parents, often times through no fault of their own, teach the same dogma, or teach nothing at all, feeling it is the Churches responsibility not theirs. I have had to deal with this mentality for over 20 years of ministry. It is frustrating at best and infuriating at worst. All to often parents will pull their child out of formation classes for sporting events or just wont send them because they have to be bothered to drive them and pick them up. The message we send out children is that “religion” and “faith” are nice, but truly not that important. I have has parents ask me it it was ok for their child to miss class because they go to church every Sunday and learn all they need at Mass, or better yet, parents telling me they don’t go to Church but that’s ok because their child attends religion class once a week.
My response to both is basically the same “So if you don’t attend football or baseball practice everyday do you expect to play in the game that week?” Why are we willing to sacrifice for a sporting event yet not for our faith? Our faith life is not a series of check boxes, it is not a task to be preformed nor is it an event to attend. Our faith life is our pathway to salvation, it is our roadmap to eternity with God. Yet so many treat it as a burden or a task to check off their weekly to do list.
It saddens me to see the number of hits to my blog drop after Easter, not because its my blog and I want lots of hits, but because it shows me that interest in the faith has dropped, that people are not as curious as they were during Lent.
We need to keep our curiosity up, we need to hunger for information and thirst for knowledge. We need to treat our faith life as if our lives depended upon it, because it does!
|Basic Spiritual Workout: A Guide to Christian Growth for Catholic Youth|