We recently purchased a new dining room set. We had to decide what to do with our old table and chair set, so we chose to keep the table and transform it into an outdoor table to be used when we grill. The chairs, however, were a different story. They were broken and not in the best of condition. So, we set the chairs out by the garbage can for the city’s trash pickup to haul away. The next day, I saw two of our neighbors coming up the driveway. I stopped what I was doing and went out to greet them. They immediately asked about the chairs and if we were “throwing them away”. I said yes and we explained we had just purchased a new dining room set and did not need the chairs because some were broken. The couple said they go with some friends to the lake often during the summer and with their friends being a little older they were looking for chairs they could use at the lake that were sturdy. My daughter and I showed them where the chairs were broken and a little weak. They plucked two of the four chairs out and asked if they could have them. We agreed and happily allowed the couple to reuse the chairs we had enjoyed for so many years. Our trash had a new home.
Sometimes I think we need to remind ourselves to do a trash check in our life. We are always placing things in the “trash bin” of life that could be exactly what someone else needs. The Church and the riches contained within it are like those chairs we tossed out because we determined them to be useless. While many may toss the Church aside, throw the Sacraments in the trash, and see it as pointless, there are many others who are searching for them. Some may choose to believe Christ is a fictional person, a crazy man who rambled some teachings to people long ago, and someone who has nothing to do with our life today. There are others who are desperately seeking the peace, love, forgiveness, and grace offered through knowing Christ.
We can easily be the ones tossing treasure out to the trash if we do not guard our gifts.
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18)
The faith we hold as Christians is the treasure we have from Christ, but the same treasure that is discarded as trash by many. It is the same treasure we might accidentally toss in the trash. The Sacraments are valuable eternal treasures handed to us by those who have guarded and protected them, even to the point of giving their lives. However, even with many Catholics, the Sacraments are tossed to the side of the road for garbage pickup because they are deemed “useless”, “ordinary”, or “unimportant”. The faith has been used, abused, and then tossed to the curb.
The Eucharist becomes a “right” afforded to every person belonging to the Church, rather than a privilege to be guarded against eternal damnation. We convince ourselves that it’s merely bread and not the actual body of Christ and therefore we diminish its value. We tell ourselves since we have not murdered, robbed, raped, or stolen anything then we have not really done anything bad enough to go to Confession so “I will wait until Lent” or “I don’t have time right now”. The Sacrament of Matrimony has become a civil agreement that can be freely broken, abused, or dismissed and re-entered with another without regards to the sacredness of such a sacrament.
Condemning sin, specifically the LGBTQ lifestyle, has become “old fashioned” and something that “only haters and bigots” believe. Abortion has become “healthcare” and a “right” as opposed to the deliberate killing of another human being. To disagree with the cultural “trend” is to be labeled a racist, hater, zealot, or even a conspiracy theorist.
But the Truth that has been handed down to us is the treasure we are entrusted to guard. The treasure that many, even the culture itself, toss out to the curb for trash is the same treasure many are seeking hard to find. Many are lost, lonely, and seeking peace. Many know there is something greater in life they have not found. Those same people are seeking the treasure that others have tossed out to the trash.
Do not lose heart when you see others toss the treasures of the Church, Jesus, and the Sacraments out to the curb. Be encouraged that there just may be someone else searching for it and will soon find what they are looking for and needing.
It may be time to do a trash check in your life to ensure you have not discarded and thrown away the treasures someone else is seeking.