Sunday, February 04, 2024

A homily on sloth! (Sunday homily)

We’ve all heard of the seven deadly sins, I hope?

Just to remind you, they are: 

pride, envy, wrath, greed, gluttony, lust; 

and there’s one more we don’t talk about much: sloth. 

What is sloth? It is more than merely being lazy.

This is the sin of indifference; of not caring.

It can poison our zeal for the things we need to do:

Praying, going regularly to confession, being faithful to our obligations,

and providing for the needs of others.

Saint Augustine talked once about this life being a journey.

Sometimes, as for Job in the first reading,  

it is a “drudgery,” and a lack of hope.

When Job speaks of “months of misery,

and troubled nights,” 

lots of people can identify with that.

That discouragement can be lead to a “why bother” sort of attitude, 

And that is a form of sloth. 

Thinking about being on a journey:

Not so much in February, but – sometimes we’re driving home, 

and it’s a beautiful day and you love the scenery along the way.

Or – more usual in February – it’s sleet and snow, 

and you’re white-knuckling it as you slip-and-slide along I-75.

Either way, remember: 

the point of the drive home isn’t the drive, but home!

And this is where a rough ride through storms 

is actually less bad than a beautiful drive. Why?

Because one of the spiritual dangers each of us face –

on our “drive home” to heaven –

is that we fall too much in love with things along the way, 

and forget where you and I are headed.

That, too, is a kind of spiritual sloth:

gradually falling in love with this world and all it offers,

can make us gradually forget our first love, who is Jesus Christ.

Either way, sloth is simply not caring; 

either from being too sad; or from being too comfortable.

One way to identify sloth in our lives:

Are you or I so content with where we are, 

that we’re not actively thinking about what’s next.

So there’s the problem. What do we do about it?

Well, these readings give us some remedies.

Notice Jesus is busy taking care of other people.

If it seems like you’re carrying the weight of the world,

if you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself,

one of the best remedies is to check in with people who need help.

There are lots of ways to help. 

And if you are looking for how to make a difference, 

contact Jennifer Zwiers, our Director of Care. 

Her mission is to help our family of parishes go higher and farther 

in helping all the needy in our community. There’s more to do!

Another remedy for sloth is what Paul does: he keeps to his task.

He says, I’ve got a job to do. Maybe I feel like it, maybe I don’t – 

but I get down to work all the same.

Paul remembers why he’s doing it: he’s thinking of home; of heaven.

A third remedy: when you’re discouraged and tempted to slack off, 

That’s when you double-down. 

If you don’t want to get out of bed to go to the gym,

what does your workout buddy do? He texts you, “Get out of bed!”

You don’t feel like praying? That’s when you pray more.

Someone will say, “but I don’t feel like praying!”…

So what? Feelings are all that important.

I’m talking to our kids right now, are you listening?

I’ve got a secret to tell you, are you ready?

A lot of times, your dad and your mom 

don’t feel like getting up at 5 or 6 am to go to work. 

They don’t feel like making supper.

They don’t feel like helping you with your homework

or leading the family Rosary.

But they push ahead: it’s not about feeling. It’s about love.

Love is a choice, not a feeling; we choose to love God,

We choose to care for people around us, whether we feel it…or not.

It’s nice to have the good feels; but lots of times, that doesn’t happen.

Just keep going. We’ve got a journey ahead of us. 

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