Sunday February 13, 2022, 6th Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle C)
The tie in between today’s readings: The wicked and the righteous
The theme running through today’s Mass Prep is the contrast between the wicked and the righteous, those who worship and obey the God of the Bible and those who doubt His existence or live like it. It’s not a simple question. Because no one knows for sure, both sides have sincere, intelligent, and not so intelligent proponents. Curiously, two people can look at the same evidence and come away with completely opposite conclusions. Our readings, Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17, and in Luke 6, conclude with blessings for the righteous for their obedience to God. The wicked are warned, but they live by different laws. So, like a hapless mother threatening her petulant child with, “Wait until your father gets home,” predictions of their Divine Judgment fall on deaf ears. Guided by today’s scriptures, let’s examine some of the laws the ungodly have placed their faith in. It’s important. Destinies lie in the balance.
LAW of Nature: The materialist starts from the premise that if it can’t be measured, for all practical purposes, it doesn’t exist. So, until somebody invents a God-o-meter, belief in the Almighty is irrational. But if you must, you may keep your theory. Everything came from the “Big Bang” and time + matter + chance = your brain. They say that we will continually climb the ladder of evolution and one day, plug our consciousness into our own indestructible androids and finally reach a reality in which, “We shall not surely die but will be like God.”
Law of Common Sense: The scoffer is just straight out proud. He is confident in his intellect. Anything that doesn’t fit into his cosmology is ridiculed outright. He believes that God is a myth like the Tooth Fairy and that no rational person would take this religion stuff seriously. He is unteachable. If you answer one of his God objections, he’ll come back with another, and another, and another still. The scoffer doesn’t want to know. He would rather defend his straw man arguments against God than explore another position. Having figured it all out his universe is small and comfortable. He likes it that way. So, stop arguing with him and casting your pearls before swine.
Law of Man: The humanist is similar to the materialist but with a psychological twist. He believes that in the beginning we all were atheists. As we evolved, we needed to invent God in order to make sense of nature. The Almighty emerged out of the black hole of man’s fear. He is confident that science will dispel the darkness of God ignorance as it expands and projects its’ own light of truth. In the not-too-distant future, he expects to consign Jehovah to the museum of the “Quaint and Curious” along with other deities like: Thor, Apollo, and Quetzalcoatl. His credo: You don’t need God in order to have a happy, productive life. We can overcome our problems by plotting a cooperative future. The sky’s the limit! When the humanist dies, we will plant his body in the ground and commit his soul to the black hole of “I don’t know”, from whence his idea of God came from in the first place.
Law of Me: The hedonist thinks that he is only accountable to himself. His motto is,” It’s my life and I’ll do what I want.” He knows the existence that he covets is short, so he desperately clutches for all the thrills he can find. He believes that everybody dies but few of us live. He doesn’t want to lose out on the one and only chance he has to grab life by the throat and wring it out for all it’s worth. He resents any judgments of sin on his character as limiting his life options, which, in his mind, is the biggest sin of all. He does have a sort of “love thy neighbor” morality: do whatever you want without hurting anyone. He tends not to see that he hurts anyone until the damage is done. He thinks that he is free. The irony is that a life of self-gratification tends to becomes banal. His kicks just keep getting harder to find. So, in the end, all of his unsatisfying pursuits prove to be a fallacy. His “liberty” has jailed him. He panics as death stalks and, despite all his rage, he is still just a rat in a cage.
Law of Results: To the pragmatist: power is god, and the ends justify the means. He is not against religion, on the contrary, he admires it in a perverse kind of way. For him, it is a great invention of the elite class to get the hoi polloi to take on ridiculously difficult and expensive undertakings. Build a pyramid. Launch a crusade. Give all your money. It’s all for a promise of a happy afterlife or the avoidance of hell fire. What a wonderful con! Religion is also useful to maintain a docile citizenship that will put up with hardship imposed by society i.e., the ruling class. He’s not necessarily a Marxist, but he is all for a good population opiate if it suits his purpose. So, support the church or leave it alone, but by no means get in its way, as long as it promotes the message of “love thy neighbor” and causes bad people to become good citizens or good people to become better ones. However, if it wants to be revolutionary so to make dead people alive or set the captives free: SQUASH IT LIKE A BUG.
The Law of Life: The apostle Paul lays it all out in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 with one big declaration of “Bring It!” If the Savior of the world is dead, then Christianity is a joke and all that is left is a Jesus Club. So, to all you worldly wise out there: disprove the resurrection and the Bible will all go away. Many an adversarial crusader has taken up the challenge. However, all attempts to show that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a hoax end up in either fanciful theories or in heartfelt conversions to the risen Lord. Paul counters: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Easter Sunday is the one irrefutable fact of history that you can stake your life on. The Resurrection changes everything. It destroys the wisdom of men, and in the destroying, God offers mankind hope. Jesus said, “Because I live, you can live also” (John 14:19). The Son of God invites you to join Him in faith. Believe in His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and then by faith rise, born again, with Him in His resurrection to new life for this present life and forever. So, what will it be? Choose! Your destiny hangs in the balance.