I love these words of St. Paul in Sunday’s Second Reading: “We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.”
In every group we’re going to find those who make everyone’s business their own. The food police, for example, comment on one’s eating habits or choice of foods. The liturgy police watch for the least deviation from the rubrics. The appearance police focus their attention on another’s dress, weight, makeup, etc. The propriety police check if one is behaving appropriately. The orthodoxy police watch for the slightest deviation from Catholic teaching, or keep a watchful eye on those who are receiving Communion.
And then there are those who just have to know everything that’s going on and are petrified that they might miss something. Others want to be the first to spread a juicy bit of gossip or to be the bearer of the first bit of news about someone’s finances, health, marital difficulties, job reassignment or promotions, etc.
In my years of adulthood and 38 years of priesthood, I’ve had experience with all of them … both in terms of being the recipient and of being one of the policemen myself. I usually resent the first and am not proud of the second.
“Work quietly,” says St. Paul. “Eat your own food” is a nice way of saying, “Mind your own business.” In other words, God would prefer we mind our own behavior and attitudes as avidly as we look after another’s. Paul is right … every time we engage in one of those behavior’s listed above, we bring disorder. It never fails … it brings turmoil either within myself or in my relationships. And besides, it’s hard enough being a steward of my own life (the Gospel) without having to monitor other peoples’ lives!
Love deeply, pray often, and when possible, MYOB!!!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.