The Shepherd’s Voice, Sept. 3

I recently saw an ad on Facebook that appealed to me…it was for a pair of glasses that would make finding lost golf balls easier.  They work – allegedly – by turning your entire field of vision blue.  White objects, such as golf balls, are amplified against the blue field and are therefore easier to see, even if they’re buried in the thick stuff.  The product, however, wasn’t really what grabbed my attention.  What I really noticed were some of the statistics they were quoting.  Assuming you play three rounds of golf a month (like I have time for that), and lose only 2 balls per round (I can do that on one hole), you’ll lose approximately $288 worth of golf balls a year.  (Callaway’s not cheap.)  Collectively, as a nation, we lose – and this is stunning, if you ask me – $1.2 billion worth of golf balls per year.

How accurate that is, I have no idea; as a general rule, golfers lie about their game all the time.  But if you’ve played, you know how easy it often is to say, “Eh, forget, I’ll just drop one over there.”  (In the middle of the fairway, 50 yards closer to the pin, but whatever.)  We don’t mind losing our possessions.  We play it off like it’s no big deal – hey, you can’t slow down the pace of play on the course, right?

But why is it that when God asks us to lose something, we balk?  An extra 15 minutes of prayer a day suddenly becomes too much; an hour of Eucharistic adoration is too difficult a burden to bear; confessing our sins is too humiliating…whatever it is that God wants, we seem to think the cost is too high.  And we try not to pay it.  In today’s Gospel, Peter tries to weasel out of paying a cost that seems to high, too.  He doesn’t want to hear about how his friend and teacher has to suffer.  But the cost must be paid, Jesus tells him.  Obedience to the will of God is what gains one eternal life.  What he asks of us needs to be paid, for our own sanctification and that of our brothers and sisters.

1.2 billion dollars buys an awful lot of golf balls.  But you are worth so much more than that.  Give to God what He is asking of you, and watch what He does in return.   Holding on to everything profits us nothing.

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