Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Balance
Life cannot be lived without a sense of balance. Moments of madness may intrude from time to time, but, always, one is brought back to earth - sometimes with a thump - by the recognition that if life is to be lived responsibly and fruitfully, then it must be lived in terms of balanced decisions.

Isaiah 55; 1-3: This passage was written by the prophet to assure the Jewish exiles in the Babylonian captivity that liberation would come by the power of God. This liberation is depicted, as it often is in the Old Testament, in terms of abundance of the good things of life.

Romans 8; 35, 37 - 39: St. Paul, with a much deeper insight than the earlier religious writers, presents Christ as a source of constancy in the face of adversity and balance in the face of success.

Matthew 14; 13-21: This passage portrays Christ as having compassion for the people and His expectation that His disciples would help to relieve the people's hunger. But it not only the physical hunger that needs to be satisfied; there is also a spiritual hunger to be satisfied, ultimately, by Christ's presence in the Eucharist.

Point 1: One of the areas in which we are called upon to make balanced decisions is that involving our needs and our wants. In our society, we hear a great deal from our advertising gurus about all the commodities without which our lives will be miserable - things that go "uumph" in the night" and "Ow! What a feeling" etc., etc. Then we have other voices warning us of the dangers of consumerism and materialism exposing us to heightened cholesterol and pimply complexions! The point is soon reached where one can only conclude that all the things we want are either sinful or fattening! The fact is that we are a creative people and what we produce needs to find a market. But we are not just creatures of comfort to be satisfied only by satisfying our material needs; there are other areas of living to be considered if fulfilled living is to be achieved. We have intelligence to be developed, emotions to be expressed and questions to be answered. We are people for whom satisfaction is achieved where the needs of body and soul are met. "Man does not live on bread alone"! And St. Augustine's profound comment in his "Confessions" - "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart can never rest until it rests with You".

Point 2: This is not to say that the religious person becomes passive in the face of life's realities. A constant jibe that one hears -"Your reward will be great"; "Pie in the sky"; "Religion - opium of the masses" are common misrepresentations of the religious attitude. And they certainly do not reflect true history. Few revolutionaries, if any, have left their mark on history as has Christ with his insistence on the rights and responsibilities people have because they are "children of God". And, although the individual abilities of people will generate differences among people, these differences will be balanced out in eternity where each will be asked to account for the use of the talent with which he or she has been endowed. It is this Faith and this Hope that can bring constancy and balance to a person's attitudes in dealing with the decisions and inequalities of daily living.

Conclusion: No! The Christian, particularly, is not an inactive passenger in any community. The servant who buried his talent rather than employing it was condemned; but, even if our personal talents do not run to changing the course of history, they are always sufficient to make changes in ourselves. In the words of the ancient prayer:
"Give me the strength to change what can be changed; the courage to accept what cannot be changed; and the wisdom to know the difference!"