Father Joseph's Reflection
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I was born in the early 80’s, so I had the pleasure of growing up right as the video game age really got going; the time right after Pong when games were cool but never objectionable. Today’s games push the envelope at every turn and often are the cause of great controversy for their inclusion of graphic violence, language, or nudity. As my generation has grown, the industry has grown right along with it. I have seen everything from the original Super Mario to the advent of technology where the same sort of program that runs military machinery can be found in your own basement as you battle friends on the other side of the world. I have seen the bad—well I actually never have seen the bad, but I have heard about it—the good, and the ugly.

One of the good ones was a style of game which can still be found today where you run around as some character exploring different areas from a third person vantage point, usually as a warrior or ninja of some sort. These types always struck my fancy because there were many ways to play them. They often came with more than one playable character so you could beat the game several times without much redundancy. What was especially cool about them was that you could play through the story quickly, but then go back and really explore—finding extra content in the game.

My brothers were always of the persuasion to just beat the game as quickly as possible while I preferred to explore, explore, explore. I’d go through every dungeon, cave, and grotto making sure to find all the pots and collect all the little shiny orbs. My sluggish pace killed my brothers. I did this so that I could have the best and richest experience possible the first time through, because once I finished the story with a certain character, I knew I would never be real interested in going back to it. Once the story was done, I was done.

It struck me the other day how deeply this mirrors our own existence. We get one chance to go through the game of life. We can either power through, or we can slow it down a little and go for the rich experience, looking into every nook and cranny, exploring all there is to explore. Sure enough, my brothers got to new areas and accomplished the “goal” faster, but what good is that if you don’t remember any of it because you went so fast? You don’t get a chance to replay life, so live it well the first time; because it’s also your only time.

Prayers Always,
Fr. Joseph Altenhofen