Life 101

Marys-Well-Nazareth-The-spring-of-the-Virgin-MaryThis is one of the easiest homilies for me to write.

The first question asked of you today is, “What is the ‘original sin’ of Adam and Eve” that has plagued every single one of us for centuries?

The answer is idolatry. Idolatry is a projection of ourselves upon someone or something else. You take a part or all of yourselves and make it golden as in the “golden calf” that Edward G. Robinson admired in the movie, “The Ten Commandments.” You make of yourself the beginning and end of your life and therefore minimize the lives of everyone around you. That’s idolatry.

Jesus says, “Today scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All around him were astonished. One single sentence later we hear, “Wait just one minute! Isn’t he from Manitowoc? Or is it Saukville? Or better yet, is it Waldo on Highway 57? No one goes to Waldo, they only drive through Waldo. Why should we be listening to him?” The big Jerusalem people (aka, New York) discovers that Jesus is from tiny, unknown Nazareth (aka, Waldo).

“Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: ‘Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.’ And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, ‘Isn’t this the son of Joseph?'”

Or a contemporary remark would be heard, “She’s a republican, forget about her.” Or, “He never went to college, what does he know?” Or, “He’s a truck driver who’s never home, what does he know about family.” Or, “She’s on welfare, she should keep her mouth shut or there’s no more checks.”

How quaint and confident we folks are toward each other. St. Paul gives us that glorious “Love’s List” and we quickly dismiss it in our personal encounters with others but crack a tear hearing it at weddings. Idolatry and projection folks – beware and watch for it, especially these divisive days when I’m always right; even when I’m wrong.

I’m not being political but if our personal lives mirrors our government’s behavior as I’m told it so often does, then we are in deep dodo. Take scripture home with you tonight as you continue to read about politics. Married people of fifty-years or more are not governed by the House Speaker or Senate majority leader. They are governed and guided by the beautiful words of St. Paul and the affirmation from Jesus Christ who came from a crummy, little town but is recognized worldwide as the Son of God.

We need to remind ourselves of several of those things we learned in kindergarten. As adults, it’s called “Life 101.” In idolatry, we can easily forget, but as members of the Body of Christ they are held deeply in our minds and hearts.

—— Share everything.
—— Play fair.
—— Don’t hit people.
—— Put things back where you found them.
—— Clean after your own mess.
—— Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
—— Say you’re “sorry” when you hurt somebody.
—— Wash your hands before you eat.
—— Flush.
—— (my favorite of them all) When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold
hands, and stick together.
—— And you older folks (and me), take a nap every afternoon.
—— And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the
biggest word of all – LOOK.”

When the created begin to believe that they are the Creator, as parents say today, “It’s time for a timeout, kid!” When we slowly dismiss our dependence upon one another and upon our Creator, then we’ve become Edward G. Robinson’s` “golden calf.”

We attend Mass and receive, “The Body of Christ.” Translated for each and everyone of us as “all of us.” “The Body of Christ” is the Church and its outreach lives out St. Paul’s beautiful litany in our thoughts, words and deeds.

You know this was one of the easiest homilies to write. Because we all know better. We know what we need to do and how to do it. It’s the living it out that often holds me back. And, that’s the second question, how about you?


About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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