Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

The Reality of Sin in the Setting of Leisure

   While many of us live highly structured lives, almost all of us have leisure or free time. Leisure time can be described as periods of time when we don’t have to be at a particular place at a given specified time.

   As God has designed us, leisure is meant to be built right into the structure of our lives as a whole. The Commandment to keep holy the Lord’s Day directs us along this line. By stepping aside from our normal responsibilities and tasks as we are directed to do this in the Third Commandment, we grow in the ability to appreciate the preciousness of our own lives and those of others.

   Setting aside leisure time can help us in ways such as the following. Free time offers us an opportunity to rest from all that we normally do. What we do has its proper place, so long as our action and activities  are in response to loving relationships. We sin if and as we allow ourselves to be mastered by what we feel we have to do.

    Another value of leisure time is that it offers us opportunities for our own renewal and enrichment. We cannot enrich others if we do not allow ourselves to be renewed and enriched. The most valuable opportunity for enrichment and renewal that is offered to all of us is the standing invitation to gather to celebrate the Eucharist. We can never outgrow the need to be renewed by the Lord as He offers Himself to us in the people with whom we gather to hear His Word and be strengthened by His very Self as He offers this in the Eucharist.

   As we allow the Lord to renew us at least weekly at Mass, we become aware of other opportunities for renewal and enrichment that are offered both inside and outside of our parish. All around us are persons in and through whom the Lord would affirm and support us. We hurt ourselves and others if we don’t recognize and respond to our own on-going need for renewal spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. By letting ourselves be renewed in all aspects of our own lives, we will grow in the ability to see ourselves as the Lord’s partners in reaching out to persons who are hurting.

   Many persons associate sin with unkind things that we say and do which hurt others. While acknowledging this, we are reminded in our Lord’s parables of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25 – 37) and the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31 – 46) that we can sin gravely by what we don’t do for persons who are hurting. Beginning in our own families, there are persons who are suffering. As we allow ourselves to be renewed and enriched, we will have the sensitivity, motivation and energy to reach out to persons who are hurting as the Lord wants us to do this.

   Depending upon how we relate to it, we can experience free time or leisure either as an ordeal to be endured or as an opportunity to be embraced. Let’s acknowledge our need for the Lord’s forgiveness for the times that we’ve passed by opportunities both to be enriched and to help others during free time that we’ve had in the past. May we strive to make the most of the precious gift of leisure that comes our way. As we strive to live in this way, we will never be bored. We will have the on-going energy to be effective instruments of our Lord’s redeeming love for persons with whose paths we may happen to cross.  


Sincerely  yours in Christ,

Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor


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