Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, July 27, 2012

Feast of Saint Pantaleon

Good morning. Part of living in the world that we do is the idea of getting ahead and living the good life; it is about living life abundantly. Back in the 70’s there was a beer advertising slogan put out by the “beer that made Milwaukee famous,” the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, that suggested we “Go for the gusto!” In other words the message being conveyed was that we should pursue life enthusiastically, to go for it all with energy and zeal. And so, what’s wrong with that, we might ask. Absolutely nothing! We should strive to embrace the goodness of life, family, friends, work and all the world has to offer. In fact, Jesus is quoted as saying that He came that we might have “life and have it more abundantly.” No, we should strive to reach for the brass ring, to fully take-in all the gusto life has to offer. The difficulty comes into play in living life abundantly in such a way as to not fall prey to the deceitfulness of a secular world that suggests we pursue the good life at any cost.

So often we find ourselves, in our efforts to obtain the good life, living lives of duplicity, we hear the word and we go through the motions but we do and say whatever is deemed necessary to live the good life, putting the truth on the shelf while we get ahead. We do and say whatever we feel we need to, including tossing our faith, family and friends to the curb while telling ourselves it is necessary if we are to have it all. The saint whose life we honor today, Saint Pantaleon, knew well the pain of duplicity and betrayal, for he was denounced by his colleagues and martyred for his faith. This is the lesson we gather from the parable of the sower in today’s Gospel passage from Matthew. The overall outcome of our life’s harvest is ultimately determined by us and our adherence to the truth. The lesson to be received in this well-known parable is that we should strive to live abundantly but to avoid doing so with audacity and avoid compromising the truth in our pursuit of the good life.

As in the parable in Matthew’s Gospel for today, the seed is sowed but each of us will determine through the choices we make where the seed will take root. This applies to work, our friends, our family, and certainly it applies to our marriage; our marriage will only be as good as what we are willing to put into it. When we make the right choices in our relationship then the true good life will follow, as in the parable our harvest will be determined by the choices we make. What we too often fail to remember in our pursuit of the good life is that morality is universal, what is good is good, right choices are not relative. There is something soulless about pursuing the good life without living it well. We are called to be in Christ and spread Christ in all that we do, in our marriage, in our family, in our friendships, in our community, in our work, and in all that we do. Jesus wants us to live the good life, but He wants us to do so in Him. Jesus assures us in today’s reading that if we sow our seed amongst the thorns of duplicity and allow “the lure of riches” to blind us from the truth, then our lives will wind up being empty, superficial, and shallow; whereas if we hear the word, understand it and live it with authenticity in everything we do, then we will have “life and have it more abundantly.” In our pursuit of the good life, we must remind ourselves that the joy we experience here on earth is but a taste of the joy to come if we hear the word, understand it, and live it. So, go for the gusto! Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Pantaleon

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