More than once my kids have asked, “Mom, why do we repeat the gospels and readings at church? Why do we hear the same stories, again and again?”
My kids are not asking this with a sense of awe in their voices as they wonder about God’s perfect plan; not at all. Feel free to re-read the question and to insert a bit of sarcasm in your voice along with a splash of whine.
This question has come before, during and after Mass when my kids are letting the familiarity breeding contempt attitude towards our faith infect their thoughts and feelings.
And my answer to them has remained almost as predictable as those readings they are complaining about.
“I guess God knew we needed to hear these stories (or psalms or lessons) again and again because He knows, better than we do, that we too easily forget the important stuff. He also made His plan for salvation simple enough to be included in one book because we would never agree to read more!” (or something very similar)
In other words, God knows our faults – including inherent laziness and forgetfulness – and accommodated them. He loves us so much, He made sure everything we needed to get back to Him was there; even willing to repeat Himself again and again and again. Even on a cyclical basis of Years A, B and C.
He knows we forget how much He loves us and how much Jesus gave up to come save us. We need to hear the stories of Peter, Paul, Ruth, Naomi, and Jonah over and over. We need to be reminded that we are seeds on a pathway, grapes on a vine and the apple of His eye.
We repeat these stories not only because they are so good they deserve a good retelling every once in a while but because they each carry a truth we need to be reminded of.
Today’s Gospel has us being reminded that Jesus isn’t interested so much in how our house looks but how our souls are doing. Can you remember which story that might be?