On several nights during vacation, I shared a motel room with my cousin. He’s a much earlier riser than I am – and he likes to surf channels. One morning, as I was slowly waking up, I heard snippets of at least a dozen channels most of which were infomercials.
“I look so much better since I lost 19 pounds in three weeks.”
“With this supplement, my energy level is way up.”
“Since I had this treatment, I look 10 years younger.”
“With this amazing program, I earned $23,000 in three months.”
And on and on . . .
I couldn’t help but reflect on how “I” centered all of those messages were. There was no “we” or “ours” much less anything about giving of ourselves for the good of others. No wonder many of us find ourselves thinking about life in individualistic terms! In contrast to this, the Jesus of the Gospels gives an entirely different story with messages like:
“Take up your cross daily and follow me.”
“I want you to be fishers of people.”
“If you want to save your life, you must lose it.”
“Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, so you do unto me.”
If I were to have the ability to make a Christian infomercial, the messages would be entirely different from the ones I heard while waking up. Those infomercial testimonies would probably be almost impossible to create and visualize because of the quiet ways in which many go about giving of themselves. It would be more like this:
“I am blest to take care of my husband/father/mother as they deal with illness/dementia/disability.”
“A small group of us look forward to cooking meals for the homeless shelter each month.”
“Coaching soccer/football/baseball is such a great opportunity to see young people grow and mature while having fun.”
“Our neighbors get together once a month to read Scripture together and pray the rosary for people in need.”
“Since my friend and I started teaching religious education to the kids at our parish, our own faith has deepened.”
Through lives of self-giving instead of self-indulgence, we give witness to lives that have real value instead of concentrating on our own needs. It is an inspiring witness by which some live as disciples and are the heart of Christ as they welcome, value and enrich their brothers and sisters!