Vanity?

Vanity. I’ve chased the wind with Rumi, the sufis and other eastern mystics. And, all the while wisdom, with the same eloquence, lay between the dusty pages of my Bible. Ecclesiastes advises that regardless of position, wealth and life-style, the paths lead but to a dusty death. One may harvest and collect into barns; but someone else lives to enjoy it. So. Eat, drink and enjoy all the gifts and time that God has given. Live with integrity, thankful to the Lord. Not seeking any reward, for who can know what lies beyond the grave?

Someone may question if it is not too near to heresy of some kind. But, I say, I do not quote The Holy Bible to support idle claims. As the joyful recipient of the new wine, I say, the old wine of the Law still nourishes many who draw from it to invigorate their spirituality. Even the one who gave us the new wine was himself born into the old law – never for once changing as much as a stroke of it. All of his life he was subject to the law. For the first 30 years he was obedient to his devout parents and adhered to what he was taught. He subjected himself to the baptism of sinners, only to fulfil all righteousness. He affirmed the two most important commandments; making them the corner stones of his teaching. He assumed the imagery, language and pedagogy of the prophets that preceded him. He saw himself as a Jew, a person of the law given down from Moses. He accepted the law, but, asked his followers to go an extra mile in the spirit of the law. He was aware of the structures rising to constrict worship into an observance of statutes. The soul was being squeezed out of that special relationship between God and his people.

God the Son, assumed human nature to re-establish that special link with us. He told us that a strict discipline of the law had been necessary for a people given to arrogance, and stubbornness of heart. The hearts with a tendency to become hearts of stone. He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, making it subject to a heart of flesh and blood. To make himself understood to his generation he used the tools that simple folk could relate to; in a language that they were familiar with; images that resonated with them.  When he said Lazarus could be seen in the bosom of Abraham, it made an immediate connect with people brought up in the tradition. God was a compassionate patriarch who rewarded the righteous. But, in line with the psyche of the time God was also the dispenser of justice, that could banish souls to a furnace, like chaff. Where there is also gnashing of teeth etc. Jesus had foreshadowed this with utterances such as “some would have ears but could not hear; eyes but could not see”. He used metaphors to dress his message, and explained the meanings to his close disciples only. He knew he was here for a time. He needed,then, to make provisions for generations that followed; to emerging world views and attitudes. So. he promised his disciples that he would always be with them as the Paraclete and source of wisdom. So, the words uttered to Adam, the prophets and believers down the centuries,  will ever remain fresh and relevant to humanity.

Prayer for Success of the Synod

Thanks be to God The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You have heard the cry of your people as they suffer under the tyranny of the ungodly and vain spirits that rule the world. The elders strive to make sense of our predicament. Through “Laudato Si”, “Amore Laetitia “ and now the anticipated pronouncements from the imminent Synod, billed to find resonance among our young Catholics.

  In the first of this trilogy the holy father took us back to how we had drifted away from your vision, seen in “Genesis”. By denying You, we also cut off the holy connections to our “brothers and sisters” in creation. Love for you, God and others, has been replaced by self-love, ego and greeds. What should be treated with love and respect to honour and praise Your name, have turned into so much stuff that can be used(or abused) to meet the desires of the moment. And, our future indeed seems bleak.

In “Amore Laetitia”, Pope Francis goes on to show how fractured our family unit has become, following the devaluation of Love in our lives. Father has turned against mother, parent against child, but not as Christ had spoken! We no longer break bread collectively over the family dining table; sharing the day’s joys, trials and news of the world. Instead we are increasingly turning into couch potatoes, isolated, and engrossed with our favourite technology-driven diversion. Our self-indulgence makes us less compassionate, less understanding, and less charitable to others. Towards the family we become directive rather than gentle and inclusive. The greater freedom we seek, the less satisfied we become. All seems a vanity and chasing after the wind.

Signs of the seasons are there for those with ears to hear and eyes to see. The fathers of the Church are more aware of the challenges of the times. Hear their prayers Lord, as they search the scriptures and your revelations for wisdom and understanding needed to heal the world. In a few decades the Church has been able to transform its validity to a generation absorbed in experimentations and  curious naval watching. The emerging generation is wiser from our misdemeanours. Help the fathers to reach out to them with the correct balance of what scripture teaches and the need of an emerging world. Amen.