Choose life

In Saint Luke’s Gospel for today, the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (in case you have lost count), ten lepers appeal to Jesus. They wish to be healed. He sends them off to the priests. Along the way, they notice that they have been cured. Then one returns to thank Jesus. He just happens to be “a foreigner” — Samaritan, as it turns out. (Who’d have guessed?) Jesus asks, rhetorically, what happened to the other nine?

Often I recall this parable when, sometimes in defiance of obligation, the thought passes through my head, that I don’t want to go to Mass today; to go to where Christ is. There could be many reasons why I might not want to go. Humour can sometimes be had, by listing them, shallow as most are. Perhaps even a fragment of useful self-knowledge might be obtained, thereby. But not too much, or it will make you late for church.

There are various reasons to attend — to “assist” in the Sacrifice of the Mass as our saying goes — but these tend to be more serious. Example: gratitude for being alive. Should we thank God for this? On balance, I would think so. The desire not to have been born remains uncommon. As Jesus mentioned of Judas, that would be better for the man who chooses death, given human immortality. (Of course, He did not mention whether Judas went to Hell, since that was none of our business.)

But once conceived, being alive ceases to be “an option.” One might as well be happy about it. I, at least, still think it is a positive, to be (as it were) “cured” of the condition of non-existence. There are pagans and atheists who disagree; but few of those to be found, anyway, in foxholes or churches.

There are irritating people to be found in the temple, including, sometimes, irritating priests. But then I have noticed that there are irritating people to be found all over.

With whom shall I side, the Christians or the lions?

So yes, I think I ought to go to church.