The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

26th Week in Ordinary Time

Date: 
Tue, 10/03/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

A video made the rounds on the Internet not too long ago.
A man had taken up two parking spaces when parking his car in a store lot.
So two guys driving big trucks decided to “teach this driver a lesson”
They pulled their trucks next to the parked car as close as possible.
There was no way the owner could get in the car.
The truck drivers then hid in the bushes with their camera rolling.
And sure enough, when the person returned, and saw he couldn’t get into his car
he became angry…lifting is arms…kicking the tires of one of the big trucks.
Eventually the man was able to crawl into his car through the hatchback
and was able to extract his car from its prison.
 
The interesting thing about this video:
there were plenty of empty parking spaces to choose from.  The lot was practically empty.
It wasn’t like the driver who took up two spaces was preventing anyone from parking.
It was obvious to me that the truck drivers were going out of their way,
maybe just for the opportunity to film the video, “to teach someone a lesson.”
 
Another story:  while I was stationed at St. Henry a situation arose in the school building.
During Bingo, which took place in the cafeteria, little children would play in the stairwell.
They would climb the stairs to the third floor and pull on the handles of a locked door.
This would trigger the alarm system for the school.  This was happening over and over again.
One of the adults at the meeting where this came up said
“we should hide behind the doors; when the children pull on the doors, we could catch them in the act.”
Now the reason the alarm was triggered was because this set of doors had a little bit of play in them.  Even though they were locked, they were loose enough to jiggle and this would set off the alarm.
So I said at this meeting “I think a better solution would simply be to fix the darn doors.”
 
Another story…again while I was at St. Henry.  Many students live on the other side of the tracks.
The railroad tracks run through Elsmere/Erlanger close to the school.
Over the years a trail across the tracks had been established at a dead end street.
The kids had been using it for years….so much so that someone had built up the stone
to make the walk across the tracks easier.
This, as you know, is considered to be dangerous and it is trespassing on railroad property.
A parishioner who lived in the last house on that dead end street told me what she saw.
One day after school as a 4th or 5th grade girl was taking the path across the tracks,
two men came up to her, took her by the arms, and proceeded to put her in the back seat of a nearby car.
The girl was crying hysterically.
The parishioner called the city police.  When they arrived they discovered that
these men were railroad police, in plain clothes, in an unmarked car.
They were there to stop the children from using the trail to cross the tracks.
 
Any time we hear the little voice in our head say “someone needs to teach this/that person a lesson,
and today I feel like that teacher”
we have crossed the boundaries into the land of non-discipleship.
A disciple of Jesus Christ does not think this way.
The only lesson a Christian disciple is to teach others is the example of loving, sacrificial service.
To use power and authority and even truth to elicit fear, to punish, to shame or embarrass another,
to harm, to get even, to get back at, to settle the score, to teach a lesson…
is contrary to everything Jesus says or does.
To teach someone a lesson, as I have illustrated this morning, is nothing but retaliation.  Think about it.
There is a place in the Christian life for correction, but never for retaliation.
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, keep us on the way of Your Son Jesus Christ especially when we encounter resistance and rejection.  May Your Spirit establish within us a willingness to withdraw gracefully when confronted by annoyance and inconvenience.  Amen!”