Discover more from Missio Dei
Under the Surface
Gospel Reflection for May 4, 2023
A theme runs through today’s readings, just under the surface:
In Acts 13 we read:
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'"
…and in John 13:
When Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, he said to them:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
What a stark contrast this is to everything we are shown in the media and taught by modern culture! I recall, when I was a child, teachers, television and such saying constantly that lack of self-esteem was the reason for most of all of the ills of society - suicide, teen pregnancy, drug use, crime, etc. There was a big push back then to bring in more school counselors and psychological care. This was just a reflection of the 1970s/80s “I’m Okay/You’re Okay” mindset. Nothing is wrong with you because nothing is wrong…. no right or wrong, all morals (if there are any) are subjective. The individual’s “actualization” is the most important thing.
Well, what did that bring? Now, suicide rates are at an all-time high. Illegitimacy and divorce rates are higher than they have ever been. More than 100,000 people are overdosing from fentanyl, alone, annually. Life expectancies are shortening. Violent crime in most cities is worse than ever. Homelessness is rampant. The number of people on antidepressants and medications for anxiety is higher than ever… and nearly every few months some kid on those drugs, plus meds for ADD/ADHD, anti-psychotics… and who knows what else, attacks a school and slaughters innocent children. Most recently, studies are showing that about a quarter of all high school students believe themselves to be gay, transgender… or something else that is “non-binary.”
We now live in that world where there is no judgement, there are no rules, no morals and no normal. The only people condemned are those who try to hold fast to traditional Christian morals and doctrine. Individuality and self actualization, “living by one’s own truth” has become the norm. Is it any coincidence that Satanists just held a convention in Boston, where their opening ceremony included shredding a Bible, and the Satanist clubs are being established in public schools? Satan is the ultimate individualist, who refused to serve God and claimed to be his own god. It is also no coincidence that most Satanists claim not to worship Satan, but themselves.
Meanwhile, in our churches we find the “Prosperity Doctrine.” It seems the most popular preachers are those who tell their followers that God will make them rich and happy. Sure, it would be easy to blame this on Protestants, but far too many Catholics equivocate on social issues saying, “God wants you to be happy.” Nevermind that all sin and selfishness carries with it the promise of temporary happiness or pleasure. Lie, cheat, steal, sleep around, have extra-marital affairs, be gay, be “other”, be proud… be proud… be proud! Christian doctrine teaches that pride is a sin…. obviously, this will lead to the end of Christianity. Unfortunately many, if not most, Christians of all denominations are either leading the pride parade or cheering it on.
Yet, in today’s readings, we find messages of humility and service. To be of service is an act of charity so long as it is done with right intention. One such act of charity is to instruct. Frankly, America, Canada, Australia and most of Europe (at least) are heading off of a cliff. We have normalized the worst sins, even the slaughter of innocent babies. As Catholics, we must humbly serve by holding fast to the Truth and standing boldly for the Truth. The Truth is given to us by God through His Church. It would be easy for me to say this, were our culture not opposed to the Truth. But, in all honesty, it would be far easier if so many of our priests, bishops, cardinals and so many Catholic universities and charities/institutions were not opposed to the Truth. It would also help if Pope Francis were a bit more clear and orthodox.
I watch Steve Bannon’s “War Room” daily… and Joe Allen absolutely freaks me out talking about trans-humanism. But no matter what, “the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” - Matthew 24:13