Would you do what is right and good if there were no God, no hope of eternal life, no kind of a reward?
Would you “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them”? (Is. 58:7)
Would you be good for goodness sake? Do you believe that goodness is its own reward?
Do you believe there is a moral code that all people can agree and act upon regardless of race, nationality, religion, or even no religion?
Would you follow that code anyway if it is ignored by most people?
Sometimes we can be tempted to think along with the psalmist: “How useless to keep my heart pure and wash my hands in innocence.” A verse later he writes: “Then I said: ‘If I should speak like that, I should abandon the faith of your people.’” (Ps. 73: 13, 15).
I recently read in the sports pages that a certain quarterback who is in the Super Bowl tomorrow night/later on (his team has the letters “a” and “n” in it) had the Paradoxical Commandments on a laminated page in his locker. The commandments are these:
• “People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered. FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.”
• “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. BE KIND ANYWAY.”
• “If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. SUCCEED ANYWAY.”
• “If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. BE HONEST AND SINCERE ANYWAY.”
• “What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. CREATE ANYWAY.”
• “If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. BE HAPPY ANYWAY.”
• “The good you do today will often be forgotten. DO GOOD ANYWAY.”
• “Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY.”
• “In the final analysis, it’s between and God. IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.”
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A17