“Disappointing Cookie Monster”, By Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time

My 2 year old son loves Cookie Monster.  He has Cookie Monster pajamas, and every time he sees Cookie Monster while watching Sesame Street, he shoves imaginary cookies into his mouth and says “nom nom nom.”  I thought I’d bake him some cookies recently when the two of us were home for the day.

If you’ve ever tried baking or cooking with a toddler running around, it’s no easy task.  He managed to dump over a bowl of flour onto the counter for starters.  Then he broke a glass, so I strapped him into his high chair while I swept it up.  I finally got all the ingredients into the bowl; or so I thought.  In my quest to wrangle the little guy, I misread one of the lines in the recipe.  It called for 2 teaspoons of salt…I bet you see where this is going…so I put in 2 tablespoons of salt…

Fast forward a bit, and the cookies were finally done and cooled and ready to eat.  My son was so excited to partake of the fruit of our labors.  But one bite into the first cookie, and he spit it right out.  I then tried one myself and did the same.  I realized it tasted salty, and then looked in the sink at the measuring spoon I used for the salt.  We were both pretty salty about that.

In this week’s First Reading, Moses is passing on to the people the commandments the Lord has given them.  He tells them, “You shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.”  If only Moses were there to tap me on the shoulder as I was about to put in the 2nd tablespoon…

That might seem like a side-note in the passage, but I think we could all benefit from reflecting on it.  What are we adding when it comes to our life of faith, and what are we subtracting?

For some of us, we might be adding too much.  Someone can be so caught up in all the different faith-related activities they’re involved with, that they almost become a distraction from God.  They can be doing “God-related” things all day long, but not be taking the time to pray.  They can be spending so much time trying to be an apostle, and not enough time being a disciple.

Then there are those of us who take it upon ourselves to subtract various things from our life of faith.  “Well Jesus wouldn’t mind if I miss Mass on Sundays when I have other things going on” or “I’m really busy, so I don’t have time to get involved or service those in need.”  Or we might say, “Well I like the Church’s teachings on social issues but not so much when it comes to what God has to say about pure relationships, so I’ll take what I like and leave the rest.”

We need to strive to live the life that God is calling us to live; not adding in all sorts of things he’s not even asking us to be doing, and not taking away the things that are inconvenient.  Just as Moses gives the people the commandments of God, the Church today teaches us how best to live this life on earth.  And it all boils down to loving God and loving our neighbor – no need to add to or subtract from that!

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