Get out of your Comfort Zone
(26th Ordinary Sunday: Amos 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16, 19-31)
The expression “comfort zone” has been in common use for many years. We settle into a set of ideas or a way of life that is taken for granted, and we are not happy when they are challenged.
The rich man of today’s parable, and the rich persons described in the reading from Amos are so comfortable in their wealth and luxury that they care nothing about the misery outside their doors, assuming they are even aware of it. They are secure, complacent.
But it is by no means only the rich who can become complacent. Anyone can become smug about some aspect of life, ready to ignore the rest of the world.
St. Paul tells Timothy to “compete” for the faith and to “keep the commandment without stain or reproach.”
Amos and Jesus both use images intended to shake their listeners out of their complacency.
Mary at La Salette is within that same tradition. Her people had settled into a comfort zone where their more or less generic faith did not challenge them, a rationalism which took for granted that religion was for the unenlightened.
This attitude is reflected in the first reaction of the secular press to news of the Apparition, published in Lyons on November 26, 1846, not ten weeks after the event: “Well, here we go again! More stories of apparitions and prophecies!” The article goes on to present a completely trivialized account of the Apparition and the Message.
Even believers can become complacent, faithfully observing the same religious practices that the Beautiful Lady specifically mentioned, but not grasping that these are intended to lead us to a deeper awareness, to see the world around us as she sees it and respond to it as she does.
Our Lady of La Salette speaks of the minimum daily, weekly and annual requirements of Catholic life, without which our faith cannot grow: prayer, Eucharist, Lent.
She does not even remotely suggest, however, that we complacently settle for the minimum!