There's a local car dealer in SW Florida whose catch phrase is 'Huge.' His bank account may be huge. But his cholesterol level and waist size are probably just as huge. American's love size, they love quantity, they love 'more.' They Love, moreover, success and grandiosity and glitz, and love to rub their success in other peoples faces. But Judgment Day will have nothing to do with the competitive results of this world. And the success or failure we experience while dealing with temporal things will not phase the Lord God at all. Rather, what we did with our success or our failure will have all the difference in our eternal destiny.
Yet, as the fat man flexes, Jesus reminds us that our vain success is just excess flab, needing the pruning of repentance.
"Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else \ who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” Luke 13:1-9
There was once two Catholics who attended a local parish. The first was a handsome man, large and imposing, with a deep voice, and a dazzling smile. The second was a participant in many street skirmishes, scarred, worn, and frazzled. The first lived a charmed life. Born to a relatively functional family, he received a good education, and was accepted by society, earning a respectable job and a respectable life. The second came from violent dysfunction, became rebellious in his youth, and struggled mightily to fit in as an adult. The first charmed his home parish with his looks, wit, and rhetorical ability. He rose to become a deacon and lead his fellow parishioners in the parish council. When he sat with his fellow worshipers at Sunday Mass, he held his head high in pride.
The second man had a very different experience.
Except for moments in confession, and a little piece of eternity in Holy Communion with the truly Present Jesus, this man was rejected and misunderstood by the Body of His Lord and Christ. The Head and Spirit may have Loved him, and forgiven his many offenses, but the Body overlooked him, shunned him, and, at times, overtly mocked and rejected him. When he attended Mass, not that anyone would have noticed, he held his head down low, offering Jesus his wound and his sorrow.
"'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:1-9
The first man enjoyed the gifts of the Lord, not fully aware that his beauty and grandeur were merely gifts from God for evangelization. Though he was an ordained deacon, a parish council leader, a powerful lector, and a 'good guy,' he took all too much personal credit for his success, and bore very little fruit in the sin of pride.
The second man was a 'victim of circumstance,' fully aware of his ugliness and guilt, but recognized grace in his prayer life and his appreciation for repentance. Though he never amounted to anything in 'Church life,' he gave God all the praise when he tasted the bitter fruit of fleeting success. He bore much fruit, moreover, in perseverance, considering he had little support from his disinterested brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the end, big, beautiful, powerful, rich, influential, young, intelligent, witty, charming, talented, and 'Huge,' mean nothing if your spiritual tree is bare of the fruit of the Spirit of the One Merciful God.
Wanna throw a rotten apple at me? firstname.lastname@example.org