|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at email@example.com.
$20 Bill Counterfeit
If you discovered that one of the $20 bills in your wallet or purse was a counterfeit, what would you do? Would you take it down to the bank and report it? Or would you try to see if you could pass it off to the next individual? Let’s face it, it was not your fault.
Somebody somewhere gave you a $20 counterfeit bill! Are you going to say, “I’m not really sure and then pass it along?” Or maybe you will go to an institution like Macy’s and say, “They can afford $20. It won’t make any difference to them.”1
Would your attitude change if it was a $100 bill? Now that is a larger amount of money, what would you do? It is a typical personal ethics question for us. We would all agree on what is the right thing to do. The right thing to do, whether it be a $20 or a $100 bill, is to go down to the bank and say, “I think this is a counterfeit, can you tell?” They will know right away.
We all agree that is the right thing to do. The problem is that it takes time, energy and commitment to do. Is it worth it for $20? Is it worth it for $100? The question is would we just turn a blind eye and say, “They will never know” and pass it on!
The challenge of being a Christian is not in knowing the right thing to do. For the most part, we know the right thing to do in any given situation. There are times when it is complex but for the most part we know the right thing to do. Yet, we so easily give ourselves excuses to let ourselves off the hook and we choose not to do the right thing or we choose to do nothing. It is hard work to do the right thing for the right reasons.
In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of the two sons. We tend to be disappointed in the sons, but the reality is that they remind us of ourselves. The Lord reminds us the one who does the will of God is the true follower!
We know what we need to do, let’s do it. There is at least one person who we need to forgive and we have not yet forgiven. There is probably one person that we know we need to reach out to and we do not need me to tell us, but we have not done it.
May we do everything we can this week to be living examples of faith; to be kind, gentle, loving and forgiving; to bear witness to the Gospel; to bear witness to the cross; to be Christ to others; to be the one who does the right thing! In every way, may we do the right thing.
1 Adapted from “Connections” (Mediaworks, Londonderry, NH: September, 2014)