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There's a Special Place for People Like That!

Fr. Joseph K. Horn
Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (13 January 2019)
9:30am Mass
St Thomas More Parish
Irvine, California

Some people are so annoying. Like people who cut right in front of you on the freeway. Or people who call you names. Or people who make fun of how you look. People like that are really annoying.

But the people who are the most annoying are the people who are annoying and don't even know it. They make our lives miserable by annoying us, and then they don't even have the courtesy to notice that they're annoying us, which makes it even more annoying!

For example, how about the people at another table in a restaurant who are talking so loudly that you can't even hear the conversation that you are trying to have at your own table? Those boisterous bumpkins make eating out a miserable experience, but they don't even know that they are annoying everybody! Well, let me assure you that there is a special place for people like that.

And how about the people who turn every conversation about any topic whatsoever into a speech about themselves? You say, "Wow, look at the beautiful clouds we have today," and they reply, "Hey, that reminds me, did I tell you that I bought a new airplane?" and then they bore you for hours talking about themselves without letting you get a word in edgewise. How annoying! And they aren't even aware that they're annoying! There is a special place for people like that!

And then there are the phone snubbers: the people who answer their cell phone right in the middle of a conversation with you. They think that their phone is way more interesting than you are. The fact that they are utterly clueless about how annoying that is makes it even more annoying! There is a special place for people like that!

And then there are the people who chew with their mouth open, and make noises when they eat. This goes beyond merely annoying and is downright disgusting. They ruin our meals and ruin our appetites. There is a special place for people like that!

And how about that annoying slowpoke in the turn lane, you know, when you are several cars back from the red light, and when it turns green, everybody goes except the driver just ahead of you, who waits, and then goes real slowly, so that the sensors don't sense any more cars, and so the light turns yellow, just long enough for that slowpoke ahead of you to turn, leaving you at the next red light? Ohhhh, I hate that! There is a special place for people like that!

And then there are the inconsiderate jerks who leave shopping carts scattered all over the store's parking lot, instead of returning them to the allocated place for them. Some jerks are even rude enough to leave their shopping cart in the middle of the parking space next to their car, which prevents that space from being used as long as the cart is there. There is a special place for people like that!

Speaking of parking lots, how about the clueless drivers who park one inch away from your car so that you can't open your own door? Or the arrogant spoiled brats who park across two spaces, because their car is obviously worth twice as much as everybody else's car? There is a special place for people like that!

Or people who put things back on the wrong shelf at the store? One day I found a bottle of vodka sitting among the boxes of Cheerios! Don't ask, "What on earth were they thinking," when the problem is clearly that they were not thinking. There is a special place for people like that!

People who talk during movies. People who wear too much fragrance. People who push an overflowing shopping cart into the express lane. People who RSVP at the last minute. People who, while waiting at a red traffic light across the intersection from you, sit there picking their nose. People who play their car stereo so loudly it makes your car rattle. I could go on but I only have seven minutes here. All these annoying people are even more aggravating because none of them know that they are annoying. And yes, there is a special place for people like that! Do you know what that place is called? [pause]

Ha ha! No, it's not called The Confessional! The confessional is where sins are absolved, but none of the above annoying behaviors are sins, because I was very careful to point out that none of those people knew that they were annoying anybody, but sin is always an intentional act. It's impossible to sin without knowing it. So when people are annoying without knowing it, yes, it's annoying, but no, it's not a sin, so the special place for people who are unintentionally annoying is not the confessional.

But there is a special place for people like that, and it's called ... The Church. Oh ... I'm sorry ... did you think that this whole time I was talking about other people? Ha! No, I was talking about you. And you, and you, and me. Everybody now and then unintentionally annoys people without even knowing it. Yes you do. And so do I. We all do, because we all have a fallen nature, mangled by original sin, which makes us ... annoying! And there's a special place for every annoying human person, and it's called The Church, into which we are baptized, and that baptism washes away that original sin, which launches us into a life-long process of becoming more and more self-aware of the ways we annoy people, and helps us steadily work on replacing those annoying behaviors with gracious, graceful, grace-filled behaviors.

Since all humans are intrinsically annoying, everybody needs help in this effort to become more self-aware, so thank God that there is a special place for people like that. Welcome, my dear friends, to that special place! Welcome to His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church!

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