Distraction and Disobedience

TUESDAY: Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Distraction and Disobedience

Modernism made us prisoners of distraction. There are hidden persuaders confronting us from every angle. Their din is deafening; their glamour is blinding. The noise pollution is choking us. Advocacy and partisanship are busy diverting our attention towards their bigoted interests. Presently we live in valleys of confusion and we bathe in streams of blood. It is becoming increasingly difficult for our generation to entertain peace and quietness or to build community. To think independently is a luxury. To be politically correct is the acceptable norm. We are gravitating towards self-destruction. We are like a flock of goats under the watchful eyes of self-severing shepherds leading us the slaughterhouse.

Christianity is falling into the same rut. We have joined the parade of charlatans fishing for compliments among the disenchanted. Rhetoric, technology, the historical, social, economic progress and the theology of prosperity are so engaging and so consuming that we are carelessly gravitating towards radical paganism blindly. We are obsessed with materialism and individualism, hedonism, nihilism and humanism because they offer us the immediate self-gratification we lust for. We trivialize the importance, the value and dignity of the soul because we believe redemptive suffering demands and extracts too much from us. We are inexcusably busy and inattentive to listen, much to our detriment. The voice and the presence of Christ Jesus and the Father have faded into oblivion – even when we are in their presence.

That was the downfall of Nineveh. The Ninevites were so engrossed with the world and the flesh that a rabid form of paganism robbed them of their faculties and stripped them of their morality, thoughtlessly. Jonah was consumed by his self-interest and self-protection that he was no longer listening to God until he learned the hard way. The same could be said for Martha – wrapped up in the material aspects of life she was sidetracked with her notion of entertainment and missed the whole concept of the life-giving presence of Christ Jesus in her own home.

What happened to Jonah and to Martha can happen to any of us today because we have placed the accent on the wrong things in life and we are no longer listening to the Lord who stands every day among us, speaking to us in the Word and through the Sacraments. God wants nothing from us except our undivided attention and our willingness to imitate him in his compassion, mercy, love and solidarity.

Here I am Lord, bend my ears and heart in the direction of your lips and I will do all I can to do your will.

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