Okay. The Academy Awards were held Sunday night. In a conversation Saturday night of last week with one of our parishioners, she referred to the viewing of the Academy Awards as, “this is my Super Bowl night.” Certainly, a very understandable sentiment I certainly appreciate. What with all the glitz and glamor, the who’s who of Hollywood and the movie industry all under one roof…what’s not to like? There is a definite sense of excitement to it all. Personally, I try to watch the tribute to those in the movie industry who over the past year had died. I suppose it is the nostalgic side of me that prompts me to take in this particular portion of the Academy Awards. However, now, I have to be honest with you: I really don’t watch any of these award shows in their entirety and I’m not a fan of these sort of award shows, whether the Academy, Grammys, TVland Awards and whatever the other award shows are. Oh sure, I’ll take a peek to see which picture won for the “best” of the year and which actor/actress has been singled out for their performance. Or which TV show won what award or which singer was chosen best of the year. But, to watch those award shows, 3 or more hours of speech after speech, “thank you” to this person and “thank you” to that group of folks and the conversations about who wore what gown…well, I’d rather be watching the series Planet Earth, maybe something from the BBC America Network or maybe even some reruns of Leave it to Beaver or I Love Lucy. And of course, there are all those sports stations from which to pick. It’s all a matter of taste and preference.
We’re all different people, aren’t we? What one likes may be held and viewed differently by another. My pleasures and tastes are certainly not the norm or the requirement for happiness for others. We give and we take and we do so in order to make others comfortable and happy. It is what we do. It is what is expected of a civilized society, is it not? Without the polite acquiescing and accommodating for others’ pleasures and our own satisfaction, we’d live in total anarchy, and we cannot have that.
Fortunately and blessedly, we come to our Lord just as we are and are gifted with His manifold and enduring blessings. We stand before our Lord, replete with our strengths and flaws, gifts and attributes, just as God made us. And we all, in equal and overflowing measure receive the gifts of our Lord and Savior without exception, without reservation, without question and anything expected in return…that is, except to love and honor Him and to treat others as we wish to be treated. I’d say, all in all, not a bad deal.
This, my sisters and brothers makes us all winners! Picture, if you will, we are the ones who are standing at the microphone atop that stage and giving our “thank you” to the One who makes our lives possible…Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. We give Him thanks for being with us, for inspiring us, for giving us the drive, insight and wisdom to do all we do. And the audience would stand and applaud, because they understand…they know of what we are speaking.
Lent is a season of our Church that separates itself from others because it is such a unique and prayerful time. Mind you, Advent and the seasons of Easter and Pentecost, also known as “Ordinary Time” are certainly important “seasons” within the Church. However, Lent, well, it is exceptionally special. We are preparing ourselves for the greatest of all feasts and to be as best prepared as we can, we are afforded these six weeks that start in the latter part of winter and takes us to the early onset of spring. We pray more, we willingly sacrifice something that is a normal and welcomed part of our life, we give more of ourselves, we engage in church life that hopefully leads to a consistent involvement in the various ministries of the church. We become “more” of who we already are and gain “enlightenment” and thus engage in the life of the church in greater measure.
Like an entertainer who reads and studies her script, or a singer who is rehearsing his piece, we, too, must get as good as we can be to best celebrate Easter. The gifts we receive…Jesus’ triumph over sin and death, the promise of life eternal with Him in His Kingdom…again, this makes us all winners, my friends.