April 6, 2017
The following homily was delivered at an all-School Mass at Bishop Chatard High School in April of 2013
One of the things I have always looked forward to as a grandparent is the day that I can start giving my grandkids advice. My own kids are grown up, so they don’t listen to me any more. It will be nice to have the grandkids as a new audience for my advice.
My Grandpa Jack was very good at giving advice, or at least he enjoyed giving advice. There was a video arcade down the street from his house. When we would visit, he would have a list of jobs for us to do. If we did them, he would give us some change to go down to the arcade.
As we were working, we would of course complain, because that what kids do. Grandpa Jack had an expression he would use at those times. He would say: “If it’s worth gettin’, it’s worth workin’ for.”
That advice has always stuck with me. “If it’s worth gettin’, it’s worth workin’ for.” In other words, if you want it bad enough, you should be willing to work for it. We really wanted to go to the arcade, so doing all those jobs for Grandpa was worth it.
Grandpa Jack’s words came back to me as I read today’s scripture passages.
In the first reading from Genesis we heard: God also said to Abraham: “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”
And from John’s Gospel: Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
When we put the message from these two readings together, it seems pretty simple: We must obey God, and when we do, we gain eternal life. But it’s not that simple, is it?
Obeying God can be difficult. Obeying man is so much easier. And as human beings, we like to take the path of least resistance. We like to take the easy route whenever possible. That’s why sin is so prevalent. Sin occurs most often when we are faced with choices and we opt for the easier path.
Man says do what feels good. God says do what is pleasing to Him.
Man says serve yourself. God says serve others.
Man says live in the moment. God says live for eternal life.
You get the idea. Obeying man is much easier than obeying God.
The bad news is that we are weak, we obey man, and we are prone to sin. The good news is that God knows that! He acknowledges that we are broken and accepts us and loves us anyway. He forgives us, while continuing to encourage us to choose the more difficult path.
Obeying God is more difficult, but the pay-off is worth it. Or as Grandpa Jack said, “If it’s worth gettin’, it’s worth workin’ for.”