Cheap Grace & George Carlin

It’s the American way. Always looking for something and paying nothing. The advertisers tease us. We tempt ourselves. It’s often called “bait.” And the fish? Are you and me.

“Free installation, free admission, free appraisal, free alterations, Free delivery. Free estimates. Free home trial And, free parking. No cash? No problem! No kidding! No fuss, no muss. No risk. No obligation. No red tape. No down payment. No entry fee. No hidden charges. No purchase necessary. No one will call on you. No payments or interest for twenty-four months.”

We all know that our faith if fed and fueled within us through the power of the Holy Spirit; yet, yet we continue thinking there’s just kinda be an easier way of being a Christian. We’re Americans. There just has to be a way to get a deal. Full price! Ugh!

“The serpent said to the woman: ’You certainly will not die! No, God knows very well that the moment you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who knows what is good and what is evil.”

Gosh, there’s got to be some kind of short cut, some kind of angle that I can rangle for myself. Like buying a lottery ticket because all the odds are in my favor?

“So come on in for a free demonstration and a free consultation with our friendly, professional staff. Our experienced and knowledgeable sales representatives will help you make a selection that’s just right for you and just right for your budget.”

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made [Fruit of the Loom] loincloths for themselves.” Naked equals being made a fool of instead being vulnerable and spiritually naked when it is rooted and lived in the life of Christ, and for Christ.

“Say, don’t forget to pick up your free gift: a classic deluxe custom designer luxury, high-quality premium select gourmet pocket pencil sharpener. Yours for the asking.”

“Sacrifice and burnt offerings, [I don’t need,”] says God. God wants hearts that are contrite, true, humble and worthy of the sacrificial death of His Son. Wait a minute! Sacrifice of His Son? Just picture that huge stone at Gethsemane. Apostles are sleeplessly out. Jesus, kneeling, praying to His Father and, and He’s bargaining! He offers God his “If” question. “If only…” we could work something out Father. “Then let this cup pass” [and Me and boys will be on our way]. The Son of God “wheels and deals” to show us how futile it works with God. And, how sad when we do it to each other.

“Limited time only so act now, order today, send no money. Offer good while supplies last, two to a customer. Each item sold separately. Allow six weeks for delivery. Some items not available. Some assembly required. Some restrictions may apply.”

Next time you return home from Mexico (if there will ever be a next time) please brag to your friend how you paid the Third World vendor more that he asked for the stupid scarf. If I hear one more person brag about haggling a poor person out of five dollars… Jesus solves his bargaining problem by powerfully, and, most importantly, humbling saying, “Not my will but Yours.” Can we do any less in our lives?

“Low rates, friendly service. Name brands. Easy terms. Affordable prices. Money-back guarantee.”

Whether we stand, kneel, or bow; like Peter, can we proudly proclaim, “Truly, You are the Son of God?” Can we hear that constant whispering voice placed within each of us first at our Baptism and then renewed each time we receive the Eucharist? Can our Confirmation unyoke our self centered selfs the way it did for the high school students who became full members in this Body of Christ Thursday night? (“Unyoke,” I like that. Never used that word before.)

We don’t need to travel to a mountain, experience an earthquake or be burnt by fire. Like Elijah, let us hide our faces in our cloaks (and masks) and go out and [see] the entrance of the cave. Leaving that selfish, dark and dank cave that only held selfish selves. Can we turn to the God of oneness and inclusion, unity, and love? The God of forgiveness for ourselves and those around us. Can we continue to search and find that “hidden pearl” that’s we think is hidden but stares us all in the face in the morning mirror.

The gift of living this earthly life in a heavenly way fulfills the creation God created. Witnessed for us by the disarming decision of His son and is continually reinforced by the Spirit we call “Holy.” This becomes the full, enjoyable, and enriching life God blesses and empowers us to live every single day.

“No purchase necessary. It’s just our way of saying thank you. Batteries not included. All sales are final.”

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
This entry was posted in Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.