Doing the Minimum

February 12, 2019

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me; 
(Mark 7:1-13)

In today’s gospel, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah, using it to highlight how the Pharisees went about the business of faith.

As a professional educator I probably shouldn’t admit this, but here it goes: In college, there were times I cut corners. If there were classes I viewed as unimportant or lacking in long-term value, I only gave the minimum effort.

The perfect scenario was when the instructor for such a class would hand out a syllabus on the first day, spelling out exactly what was required. I would then implement a plan to do the bare minimum.

If attendance at class sessions were not a part of the grade, I would not attend class sessions. If a paper had a 3-page minimum, the paper I produced was definitely not longer than three pages. Some classes even spelled out different requirements for different grade expectations – i.e. do this to earn an ‘A’, do this to earn a ‘B’, etc. In those cases, a ‘B’ was just fine with me, so I would do the minimum to get that ‘B’.

Is that how we are approaching our faith? Are we giving minimum effort, signaling to God that our faith is “unimportant or lacking in long-term value”? Does our faith consist solely of attending Mass on Sunday and praying before meals? Is a ‘B’-level faith “good enough” for you?

 

 

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