by Arturo Guerra, LC
A hamburger tastes better if you put some mustard, ketchup and a recently invented salsa on it. A cake covered with chocolate frosting or strawberry jam or colorful jellybeans, will be more attractive. If they add sugar and a few drops of milk in our cup of coffee, we are very grateful.
When we were kids, we most likely did not prefer to eat liver, when mom came up with the great idea: “today we’ll eat liver and nobody can say no”. A friend of mine, who is no longer very young, still hates liver. Nowadays he just doesn’t eat it at all. But, when he was a boy, he had to eat it by maternal decree. He had to do it. How would he manage? First of all, he would try the more traditional methods: Secretly giving it to Fluffy, the family dog, by discreetly slipping it under the table or moving it piece by piece to the nearest brother’s or sister’s plate… All those techniques were easily thwarted by his efficient mother. Therefore, he had to do simply swallow it himself. How? He loves mustard. So, he would smother the liver with almost half a jar of mustard. He thus managed to neutralize 85% of that horrible hepatic flavor.
But all of these techniques, more or less suitable in the culinary world, fail when we try to apply them to the Christian faith. A hamburger with mustard tastes better, but Christian faith with mustard ceases being Christian faith. The same happens if you spread some peanut butter on it or if you add some skimmed milk to it.
The gospel asks you to love God above all else.
“Yes, that’s okay. Above all else, except my favorite toy.” Here we have the Christian faith… with ketchup.
The gospel asks you to take up your cross.
“Okay, I agree, but give me a comfortable cushion for my shoulder, hire three faithful helpers to bear it for me, and make sure the wood of this cross is the lightest on international wood market. Here we have the Christian faith … with sugar.
The gospel tells us that the pure of heart will see God.
“Okay, but let’s not exaggerate. Take it easy. Everybody does it, so it really isn’t that bad”. Now we have added a little wild honey to our Christian faith.
The gospel asks you to love enemies.
“I agree. I only hate this one wretched, unbearable person.” Now our Christian faith has a little mayonnaise.
The gospel asks you to forgive seven-times-seventy times.
“Yes, but not this guy. His is a special case. What he did is unforgivable”. That is to say, the Christian faith with evaporated milk.
The gospel asks you to be detached from material possessions.
“Right, but, you know what? This is the century of consumerism, so I really have to buy and shop. It doesn’t matter if I don’t really need it”. Let’s cover our Christian faith with a few slices of tomato.
The gospel invites you to pray.
“Yes, that’s important, but I don’t have the time. Can’t you see I’m a busy person? Free time should be used for sipping a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette or attending a party”. This is a Christian faith topped with chocolate frosting.
The gospel asks you to stop along the way to heal the wounds of one lying on the roadside.
“Yea, I know. But, nowadays that can be dangerous. You never know what can actually happen. Maybe you help him and afterwards he doesn’t even thank you”. Here we have the Christian faith with skimmed milk and a bit of jelly.
The gospel asks you for fidelity.
“Okay, but you have to have your own ideas, you know. I really share many of Jesus’ opinions, I just don’t agree in very few points, above all on moral issues”. That is to say, the Christian faith with multicolor jelly beans.
The gospel says you are just passing through this world, that life is so brief, that you have to live it to the full minute by minute.
“Yes, but you don’t have to be boring. You have to do your own thing, be yourself and do what you really like. You just can’t imagine what good friends laziness and I are”. That is to say, Christian faith with mustard. Christian faith with mustard please!
On his gospel,
Christ didn’t put ketchup, mayonnaise or tomato.
He didn’t add sugar, wild honey, or multicolor jellybeans.
He didn’t cover it with chocolate frosting or jelly.
He didn’t add evaporated or skimmed milk.
Christ didn’t neutralize his gospel with mustard.
Don’t ruin the Christian faith with condiments. Either you live it just as it is, or it isn’t Christian faith.
Fr Arturo Guerra can be contacted at email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Anna Lee