The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday 03 April – 2011

Where are we now? How did we get there?

Gospel: Jn 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

I think personally that today’s Gospel is very pertinent to our present situation. It expresses exactly the theme of our concern: “Where are we now? How did we get there?” We can say we are blind like the man in today’s Gospel, we don’t know where are we going and what is our final destination. We don’t know Jesus Christ –although we pretend or imagine that we do know Him, and we too repeat with the man in the Gospel: “Who is the Son of Man, sir that I may believe in Him?” Look please only how many people who pretend to know Jesus Christ are refusing the fundamental right … the right to life to the unborn? This is only one example of the blindness of our civilisation, of our culture. How we can pretend to know Jesus Christ the giver of life, the One Who is the LIFE itself and -at the same time- accept the situation where the most vulnerable, the most defenceless are executed … 120,000 (one hundred twenty thousands) every day … 46 million every year?

If I claim that I know Him … I am constantly living in blindness and I don’t even realise my situation.

There is a book written by José Saramago, “Blindness”. I read it few months ago. It's a shocking story of a world, the entire world becoming blind.

The book is notable for a few different reasons. First of all, Saramago writes in a manner that can be quite unnerving when you first start reading. He uses very few paragraphs and little punctuation. There are no quotation marks to mark the dialogue, no paragraph breaks for new speakers and many times the speaker is never even identified. It sounds like a complete mess and there are, indeed, times when the story becomes somewhat chaotic. However, it works brilliantly.

The book is dealing with a horrifying idea, that one day the world was infected by a very mysterious sickness of a white blindness ….

Once the blindness has become an epidemic, authorities start rounding up all the people infected and send them to an empty asylum, where they are forced to fend for themselves. No one resides in the asylum to assist them, as they would quickly become infected and blind. Instead, food is left outside for them each day and the premises are secured by armed guards with orders to kill anyone who tries to escape. Every day, new people who have been infected or exposed are brought to the asylum. And finally the whole world is suffering for this horrible illness … everybody is blind.

But do you know what happen with people who become (all !!) blind? The social life stops, all social communications, all services, shops, electricity, water supplies … everything stops … And among the people starts or grows to the enormous and caricatured dimensions … guess what …. ???? CRIME especially sexual crime and lust …

You can imagine what kind of disaster it could be. All blind people are thinking and searching only how to satisfy their two desires: hunger and lust.

Actually reading this book I was sometimes thinking bitterly: “are we really not already in this kind of situation?” Are we really not yet living in one big asylum where these two desires are predominant and the most vital and essential for the life of the whole civilization?

Obviously I am exaggerating or overemphasizing but look please what do we have in all media: TV., movies, internet, newspapers etc. ? what do we have there ? what kind of advertising, marketing or commercial? What kind of movies, stories, news do we have ? What is the driving force of the entire civilization? HUNGER And LUST … Isn't it something frightening ?

Food and sex … this is everything and everywhere in our contemporary life. And if you try to talk with people about religion, God, moral norms, commandments or anything else the majority behaves like affected by this white blindness … they seem to see, they pretend to be sound and healthy … and in reality they are blind and unhappy.

Is it not the proper diagnosis of our contemporary world? It’s sad, it’s depressive, gloom and grim but let us be honest … this is the reality of our contemporary world.

St Paul in today's second reading is telling us:
"Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light, …"

Are we really the light in the Lord? Do we really live as children of light?

The humanity is lost and in a very deep danger, knowing not where to go. We are all like the bling people in the Saramago’s book. Who is right, who can help us if everybody is blind, and where is the sound and healthy teaching? We are tempted by different kind of “saviours” who promise us a direct and immediate access to heaven, an instant salvation, but basing only on our natural and human resources or on some enigmatic and mysterious practices. All those “saviours” finally deny the saving power of Jesus and refuse to recognize what St. Peter states strongly:

“There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (Acts 4;12)

And St. Paul affirms clearly:

“When Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, we proclaim Jesus Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles ...” (1 Cor 1;22)

We have to go back to Jesus Christ, because only He is able to heal us!!!

So, we should try – first at all- to establish a kind of diagnosis or analysis of the present situation and see what the dangers are, but also what are our expectations?

Pope Benedict XVI writes:

"The most important pastoral priority of our own times is the correct formation of believers' consciences, because ... in the extent to which the idea of sin is lost, so unfortunately the sense of guilt increases, which it is then sought to eliminate through inadequate palliative remedies."

What our real blindness is … we do not see and we do not recognise our sins …. This is our sickness, our blindness … our most dangerous disease …

At first I was rather astonished and ready to rebuke this kind of negativistic vision of the world. It cannot be so bad. We have still some good examples of faith and morality. We cannot see all in these black and dark colours. But later on I read two very famous sentences from Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI:

• “Do not be afraid! Open, indeed, open wide the doors to Christ! Open your hearts, your lives, your doubts, your difficulties, your joys and your affections to his saving power, and let him enter your hearts. "Do not be afraid! Christ knows what is in man. He alone knows it".
John Paul II on 22 October 1978
• “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.” Benedict XVI at the inaugural Mass of His Pontificate (24 April 2005)

And yet!!! We are afraid of Christ, believing in Him we don’t believe Him, we don’t trust Him, because we do not know Him! We are creating our own false ideas of God, we are indeed creating the idols and we are afraid of them. Few months ago came to me a man who was a prospective RCIA member. And he told me frankly:

“Father I would like to join the Catholic Church, I would like to become a disciple of Christ, I am fascinated by His teaching, I read many books and articles about Catholicism but ... you know ... I am afraid when I think about all those commandments, obligations, restrictions and rules I have to observe and follow. All what I should do and what I cannot do. You can do this and you cannot do that ... this is forbidden, this is a sin, and so on and so on .... I am afraid to become slave of all this stuff.”

Does he really know something about Christ, does he really know something about Catholicism?
Was he really fascinated by the teaching of Christ? If he knew he should know what Jesus said:

“you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (J 8,32).
Is it not rather similar to the situation when somebody says: “I would like to become married, I love my fiancée, I would like to have kids, but I am afraid of all those obligations, I am afraid of losing my freedom, I am scared that I will be no more able to go with my friends ... and above all I am afraid of dirty baby diapers.”

What this man know about marriage, what does he know about love, about family live, about parenthood? Does he really love his fiancée or he loves rather himself? Is it not very often our situation, our conviction? Do we really know Jesus Christ and His Good News? Don’t we create some kind of idols in our lives? Are we sometimes not the victims of our own idolatry? We create our own image of God, our own image of Christ according to our needs, choosing only what fits

We are tempted to follow the relativism of the world and see ourselves as the center of the universe. When we say that our choices in life depend on our own desires, not on what is objectively right or wrong, or, more, when we say that we determine morality ourselves, we act as though we are little gods. And if God doesn’t follow our expectations we behave like a woman in the joke I heard few days ago:

A woman phoned God and bitterly said she didn't understand Him and she is very upset with Him. God replied, "Good, madam. That makes us even." Then He hung up.

Pope Benedict has written about the plague of relativism, as modern man sacrifices principals to his own selfish desires. Who are we to tell God what is right and wrong? Who are we to tell God that He needs to accept our choices even if they are against objective morality? We do not have the right to tempt our God.

This is our blindness; this is the “supermarket mentality”. As bishop Fulton Sheen used to say in the Church we behave like in the salad bar or in the supermarket …
I choose, I pay, I have the rights to change if I am not happy …

Is it not exactly how do we see God and our religious life and practices?

What are those “inadequate palliative remedies?” Just as we said above: “the enigmatic and mysterious practices, salvations through our own rituals, or Gnostic knowledge”, salvation without Jesus Christ, rescue without Rescuer, freedom without Truth, liberty without Liberator.

This is what we can find in many other -SO CALLED– churches

I saw somewhere on the internet an advertisement of one of this “mega churches”:

“You are welcome into our church
We have the very good air-conditioning,
Cushioned pews
And we don’t talk about Hell”

This is what people will be certainly searching for or expecting … and some pastors (unhappily) will try to provide this kind of “nice service”.

This is not to blame anybody and make us guilty but rather to recognize sincerely our present situation. What is the most dangerous situation of a patient? When he denies his sickness, when he tries to neglect it and to say everything is OK, I am not ill.
Following the texts of St. Paul I would like to show that there is a “fundamental hostility between the World and Christ.”

Few weeks ago I got a letter from one of those organisations sending different type of advertisements, bulletins and booklets. In the letter I read:

“There is no doubt you feel the increasing intrusion of godlessness in every aspect of public life: godlessness in governments; godlessness in economics; godlessness in the universities; godlessness in the courts; godlessness in the sciences; godlessness in the news media; and even godlessness in once-Catholic families.

It is a godlessness that quickly turns into a tangible hostility to religion.

And all this is basing on the most innocent and at the same time the most dangerous idea: “If you feel good, just do it!” There is no sin; there is no need of feeling guilty, because GOD LOVES EVERYBODY. Whatever you do God loves you and He will pool you to Heaven by your hairs.

How did we get here? Since late ’60 was growing the mentality of: "If you feel good … just do it".

*********** LIBERALISM ************

One of the most dangerous and perverse mentality … the way to self-destruction

Some fundamental canons of liberalism … which is so widely spread even among Catholics

- I do what I like and nobody has the slightest right to correct me.
- any correction of my behaviour is an unauthorized intrusion into my privacy and an attack on my freedom, because I don't do anything wrong,

- God made me free and nobody (even God) has the right to restrict my freedom either by commandments, orders, prohibitions, or moral standards. Any commandments are at best only wishful thinking on their part that I could - but I absolutely do not have to - obey,

- The concepts of sin, guilt, good and evil are pointless and senseless if it's just me who decides what is right and what is wrong. What is usually called “sin” can be understood as some small mistakes resulting from the present situation and circumstances and not being subject to any moral judgment,

- The call to repent, change my life, correction, improvement etc., is idiotic and a misunderstanding, since God has created me free and He loves me just the way I am. It’s not me who has to repent and change anything in my life, rather others have an obligation to accept me as I am, following the magnificent and central principle of tolerance,

- I decide; “what, when and how” I will perform any religious practices and nobody has the right to expect me to obey any liturgical, moral, social or any other rules. Any claims in this regard are unfounded and devoid of any virtue,

- I do the favour to God that I love and adore Him, and really, He should just be happy that I sometimes even visit the church or even that I sometimes pray,

- Priests, and in fact all the clergy in general are a gang of thieves, a bunch of careerists and perverted deviants, or at best a company of harmless and unrealistic idealists without any connection at all to reality. Their requirements are unrealistic, perverse, and calculated to oppress and humiliate all free thinking people,

- The church is a human structure, which should be subject to continual evolution to better meet the needs of its members, and if not, it should be changed and replaced by a more democratic institution which is more supporting and cherishing to the people,

- I don’t know why I have to write all this, since it is so obvious, natural and easily understood. Those who do not understand it and do not recognize it are still living in medieval times, bothering themselves and others with their stupid and useless moral standards...

So, maybe let us stop by there? We answered in a very painful way the questions:
Where are we now?
We are somewhere-nowhere …. We don't even know where are we because we are blind?

We desperately need Jesus Christ to cure our blindness, to be the Light of our life …

No comments: