On episode 9 of Season 6 of “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis was asked to help two young men who were trying to start up an online business venture. These were some bright young men; however, they were just trying to “make it” in a short time. Even though they were able to manipulate and create short-term hypes using social media influencers to push their sock products, those were just temporary hypes and their successes quickly ended with their hype-based strategies.
Marcus tried to help them by introducing them to his partners who were working together to build a community-oriented brand and forum, but these young men were only interested in learning the quick in-and-out secrets in order to strike it rich. They were arrogant and did not have any real plan or vision because they relied on their short-term, social media-based influences, thinking that they will somehow work in the long run. Simply put, hypes do not work for long-term goals and visions! At the end of the show, Marcus walked away from them because they were too full of themselves, only wanting to take the easy road, quick money, and trendy methodologies. He walked away because they think they know better and are more in touch with the world than his other partners. He walked away from the deal because they were not interested in working together but only worried about themselves and their own needs.
Unfortunately, what was portrayed in this particular episode is often the mindset and mentality of many of our young people. I got to admit that I often get bored and tried to control myself from being snarky when going to graduation commencements where it seems like there got to be either too many plagiarisms or someone selling the same generic speeches to those speakers. They speak much about passion and reaching for the stars, believing in yourself and chasing after your dreams. All of these are aspiring as well as inspiring, but they often leave our young people high and dry! Passion runs out fast, we do not always get to live our dream, and reality is oftentimes very dull and hard to swallow at times. No one like to settle down and be able to accept one’s limitations and realization of the truth. While imagination and aspiration are good, sentimentalistic and emotional passion seeking is dangerous and often times leave many cynical and bitter about life!
We have all experienced this reality in many similar ways. Even though we can tell our young people the truth, many of them will not listen because they think that we are boring and outdated, lost touch with the world and what is going on because we have lost our passion. Our society encourages them to chase after their imaginative and sentimental passion, yet they found out when moving into the dorms, out of the house, or in the workplace that passion does not put bread on the table and make them happy! While it is easier to blame others for what is not given, it is more humble to accept things as they are in order to understand and discern what is proper and true according to reality.
It is much more important to also realize that unlike sentimental, passion-based aspirations, the joy of the Lord is necessary because it is real and contagious. While it not going to be popular like short-term hypes or temporary pleasures, it is substantially satisfying, fulfilling, peaceful, and brings us contentment. Just as it empowered early and many generations of Christians to embrace hardships and trials for the sake of the Gospel, it is able to extend the necessary hope in times of our own ups and downs. Just as it gave them courage and conviction to preach and live the truth, it will give us enough strength to stay the course with proper prayer and fasting, commending ourselves to the Lord just as they did with their faith. The Acts of the Apostles reminds us that the Apostles and their disciples understood that “it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” (cf. 14:21-27)
I often hear from many people that Christianity is an outdated and old religion that has it all set, especially the Church, just sitting there to protect its own antiquated institutions and living in comforts. However, I can tell you that this is far from the truth! People think the Church is outdated because they are not in touch with themselves and the Gospel values. It is easier to say that the Church is outdated in order to propose a new set of ideas that fit one’s lifestyle than to understand, be humble, and conform to what the Church asks of us, which is holiness and our lives of sanctification. Our treasures are still our people, especially the poor! This is not just a motto or phrase to be said. Even though many of us do not see it in front of our eyes, there are countless missionaries who are working hard days and nights to care for the forgotten, abandoned, and poor. As a matter of fact, in many places around the world, the Catholic Church has always been known to be the source of help and comfort in times of need. If the Church has it all set, why are there still many Catholics being persecuted and killed for their faith — even in this very age? Perhaps we have seen only the comfortable and institutional side because we only choose to judge and look at things from our own armchair philosophies.
The Church is and will still be at odds in many ways with society. There had and always continue to be contentions between our divine-given mission and purpose and what the world wants us to be to fit its agendas! There, of course, will be failures and mistakes when the leadership and members of the Church who stopped living out their particular vocations and general mission, but the Church will continue to be at work in wondrous ways to preach the Gospel in both words and actions at places where her members are willing to it to be their own’s!
It is not easy to be Catholics, especially to truly believe and to live our faith out loud! We will be insulted, persecuted, and undergo many trials. Yet, the Book of Revelation reminds us that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, at the end of our faith journey. (cf. 21:1-5) In our personal trials and witnesses to true joy and love, even if it means to suffer and embrace hardships, we profess and believe that He will make all things new in His time and according to His divine providence. As a matter of fact, we are instrumental in that reality, even in our own limited capacity to profess and testify in good times and in bad alike!
Christianity is hard because we are called to truly love one another! That is not easy. Why? Because while it is easy to talk about love or simply love the people who love us, or at least the ones we can tolerate, we are called to love everyone. The Lord Jesus Christ told us clearly, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (cf. John 13:31-35) Love requires that we will the good of others and care for them, even if they do not care for us. We cannot just think we know better or enter into relationships as to manipulate or get something out of them! Our Savior taught and given us a divine commandment! That is why we can feel this tug within our hearts and deep within our core to love (even though we do not want to love at times). It can be super hard at times, too, because it can be something unnatural according to immediate, quick, self-centered human tendencies. To love requires the grace of God and our willingness to cooperate and be immersed in that loving grace! To love takes every fiber of our beings and every effort as to know that we are all made for one another. We are all on this journey together!