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Fighting Apathy

First Reading: Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Sardis, write this:

“‘The one who has the seven spirits of God
and the seven stars says this: “I know your works,
that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die,
for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.
If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief,
and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you.
However, you have a few people in Sardis
who have not soiled their garments;
they will walk with me dressed in white,
because they are worthy.

“‘The victor will thus be dressed in white,
and I will never erase his name from the book of life
but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father
and of his angels.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

“To the angel of the Church in Laodicea, write this:

“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the source of God’s creation, says this:
“I know your works;
I know that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either cold or hot.
So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’
and yet do not realize that you are wretched,
pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich,
and white garments to put on
so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed,
and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
then I will enter his house and dine with him,
and he with me.
I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne,
as I myself first won the victory
and sit with my Father on his throne.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear
what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5

R. (Rev. 3: 21) I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

NAB

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Becoming apathetic is so easy. It’s happens without our even consciously seeing it happen. To me, it’s almost like gaining weight. You think you’re doing good with your eating habits and exercise, but then you start having second helpings of buttery mashed potatoes, saying yes to that weekday dessert because it’s been a tough day, and having a couple extra glasses of wine with your girlfriends during book club.

And then a couple months go by and suddenly your pants don’t fit.

I can see my own spiritual apathy develop similarly. Sure, I’m going to Sunday Mass, I try to say daily prayers and keep my prayer life on track, I want to frequent Confession and openly share my faith with people I meet. But ever so slowly things start sliding. I easily make excuses when it comes to my daily prayer life, not enough sleep, not enough time, needing coffee before morning prayer then not praying the rest of the day. I start seeing all these prayer requests on my Facebook feed but I scroll past without bothering to acknowledge other’s sufferings. I attend Mass and witness the Consecration without adoration in my heart. I let months go by without seeking out the Sacrament of Penance. I find myself neither hot and fully engaged with my faith, but not cold and away from Christ and the Sacraments either. I become apathetic to my faith.

Apathy is checking out. It’s approaching the faith without intention. My whole heart isn’t engaged with Christ anymore. I’m not focused or disciplined; I’m going through the motions. Apathy doesn’t so much mean our feelings towards our faith or whether or not we’re “on fire for the Lord!” it has to do with our wills being fully aligned with Christ and His Church or not. If we’re not giving our whole selves through our wills, then we are becoming more lukewarm by the day.

But we’ve got to fight the apathy, the lukewarm, the blandness that creeps in. Not only because there is so much the Church is offering us in fully receiving the Sacraments and participating in the life of grace, but because Christ wants to enter our house and live and dine with us. That’s the true intimacy I want so badly, that’s worth fighting for even if it’s a constant battle against a creeping foe.

What can I do today that will combat my spiritual apathy? An act of service, attending Mass today, offering comfort to someone suffering, praying morning or evening prayer, the Rosary? Help us Lord to grow in intention, so that we may grow in Your love.

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

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