We Give Stamps
With all the retro-cable TV stations around, it is fun to watch not only an old episode, but bring back some fond memories. Last week, I watched the Brady Bunch episode when the kids tried to cash in their 94 books of trading stamps. The boys wanted a boat and the girls (all of them had hair of gold) wanted a sewing machine (of course, what else could they want in 1970?) The Solomon-like Mr. Brady settled the dispute by having the kids build a house of cards – the winner got to choose. Fr. Thomas said he had no idea what I was talking about...trading stamps? Come on, don't you remember those S&H Green Stamps ? According to my Mom, you got the stamps when you bought certain items (wherever you saw the sign "We Give Stamps"). The idea was to collect them, lick them into a little paper booklet, then choose something from their catalog according to the number of books you had collected. The S&H catalog was the largest publication in the U.S. and produced three times more stamps than the U.S. Post Office! But then, as early as 1980, Green Stamps were over. What happened to them and how did they just disappear?
It's not just about sentimental memories that disappear, but all too often "real" things can fade away. The Scripture readings this weekend are so much about not bearing hatred, even grudges, against brothers and sisters...about remembering our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit...about learning how love our enemies is more important than simply loving those who love us. Hard words to hear? Yes, it takes more than just building a house of cards to resolve our issues of protesting hatred in the streets and in too many of our homes. Grace isn't collected like stamps and traded in for something we want. Our Catechism reminds us just how much human life is treasured as the temple of the Holy Spirit: "grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to His call to become children of God...partakers of the Divine Nature and of Eternal Life." Grace is all around, no need to waste it. This week, why not resolve to never waste grace again? Deal with those grudges against those siblings/family/co-workers--and even yourself. Remember why the human being was even created...to be a temple of God's glory. Sure, look back on nostalgia and be grateful, but remember what is most essential...remember who you are. (And have an extra prayer for Fr. Schleicher's intentions on his 7th anniversary of entering into glory--2/23).
Pax, Fr. Bline