October 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 3

Who Stinks Now?

By Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

Photo of a white and brown goatFootball is in focus at this time of the year. Yet, baseballs fill the skies over a number of stadiums in our land. I refer to the home parks of those teams that were involved in the playoffs and the World Series. One particular Series comes to mind. The fans of the Chicago Cubs claim some interesting individuals among their number. Game 4 of the 1945 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers provided the setting for the most unusual fan of all. Wrigley Field was filling up with patrons when there appeared at the gate one Billy Sianis, a local tavern owner and an immigrant from Greece, with his pet goat. It is not recorded what Mr. Sianis was wearing, but the goat was attired in a blanket inscribed with the saying, "We got Detroit's Goat." After some contentious moments with a group of ushers, Mr. Sianis, bearing two box seat tickets, took his place accompanied by his goat - in the stands. Unfortunately, the goat's hygiene left much to be desired. Before long, the surrounding fans were complaining about the odor. Finally, Philip Knight Wrigley, the Cubs owner, ordered both Sianis and goat removed from the stadium. Livid over this perceived insult to his goat, Billy Sianis placed a curse on the Cubs. He prophesied that the Cubs had won their last pennant and had played their final World Series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lost Game 4 that day and went on to loose the Series. Vacationing in Greece, Mr. Sianis sent a letter to Mr. Wrigley declaring, "Who stinks now?" As of this writing, the curse remains in force.

I leave it to you and the good people of Chicago to believe in the curse or not. What is not in question is that the actions and the attitude of people do have a good or ill effect on their environment. Like the change of seasons, the climate of a society can change from pleasant to harsh, colorful to drab. Spiritually speaking, people walk a treacherous path if they ignore their power either to facilitate or to obstruct the influence of Divine grace.

God of justice, God of mercy, Make us merciful and just! Help us see all your creation As from you a sacred trust. And when people cry in anguish For their own or other's pain. Show us ways to make a difference 0h dear God, make us humane!

– Jane Parker Huber

We are the difference makers. We are the sole creatures on this planet that have been given the privilege and responsibility of living in God's image. An immense power has been entrusted to us; a power affecting nearly' all human interactions. God's living grace does not impose itself where it is not wanted. No one is forced to live the truth of God's word, but everyone is obliged to bear the results of their decisions. This sentiment echoes the words of the renowned psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who said, I believe that e are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed. , word, and thought throughout our lifetime." Our culture coerces capitulation to lesser standards. Abrogating personal liability has become the preferred lifestyle of the age. One adopts this mode of living to his or her peril.

Scripture and tradition, our moral guides. are solid enough to fix our course and are flexible enough to enlighten our own particular way. An individual conscience needs a firm foundation of principles in order to apply them to the rapidly changing circumstances and nuances confronted in the task of making good moral decisions, The absence of such a beacon leaves a self-centered, chaotic moral system that often results in the unbelievably inhumane behaviors narrated through the media daily. The commitment affirming the centrality of God in our lives results in an obligation to he answerable for our actions and to be persistent in combating our sins. This vow would fulfill a duty to all humanity.

Someone once said that we ought to support all that leads to excellence in life. I would think that most people would concur. Reports of acts of kindness and justice would multiply opportunities for all to improve their condition would increase and motivating factors toward crime and depravity would decrease. Would you consider this a mere pipe dream? Allow me to entertain the dream that we might opt to pursue these high standards, support them in others, and become a growing multitude. Think of it! Humans actually may reveal a propensity toward acts ranging from not harming the earth to not bringing a smelly goat to a ballgame.