“There is no such thing as low-cost Christianity.”
Recently, I was facilitating a Zoom meeting with a few Catholic leaders discussing the challenging dynamics of a particular volunteer involved in their ministry. At one point during the conversation, the leader of the ministry sighed "This isn’t worth it. She isn’t worth our time." As I watched their collective nods, I was struck hearing such a quick evaluation of a person with such quick consensus. Now before you or I rush to judgment of these leaders, I can say with certainty that I have used that expression more times than I’d like to admit. However, watching this dynamic from afar, I couldn’t help but realize just how wrong it is. What enables me to calculate the worthiness of another? Much too often it is not the "worth" of the individual, but rather something that is happening for me during the "while" that is really influencing my decision to invest in them or not. Certainly there are those with whom I may always disagree or those who will always deny my invitation, but is my level of effort, or more importantly my openness to the individual, proportional to how quickly they respond in the affirmative to me? Or like our Lord, do I double-down on sacrifice for those who I might believe don’t "deserve" my effort? As I reflected, I was reminded of some sage advice given to me by a wise old bishop when I was confessing the sin of pride: "Dan, God won’t reward you for your smarts. He’ll reward you for your patience." This week, fresh off the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, let us embrace patience with each other, particularly as we take a cue from how Jesus deemed who was worthy of His life.