- Titus 1:1-5
- Psalm 96:1-10 (Responsorial)
- Psalm 119:105 (Alleluia)
- Mark 4:21-25
Alleluia: Lucerna pedibus meis verbum tuum, et lumen semitis meis.
A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path.
n the Hebrew and the Greek versions of the OT, the word for “word” is not the one meaning “preaching” but rather it is logos and d’var, meaning more like “thought”. “The word of the Lord” is a statement about the metaphysical content rather than the literary content of the teaching. And, of course, Logos is also a title for the Second Person of the Trinity. I want to challenge us to move away from our overly-protestant yet secularized culture that focuses on text and meaning of the text and hear here a claim about Jesus, not the Bible:
I’ve been thinking, lately, about cycles. Caligula didn’t pay much attention to Christians – we were a small sect. Rather nutty, we were, and we were probably scandalized by his excess. But there were not enough of us for him to pay any attention. Nero, however, had a city full of us. And he was unimpressed. Later things got better. Then things got worse, every 75 years or so. Then things got really good for a generation. Then sucky. Then it got really hard because we always had to know which emperor was a good guy, and which was a heretic. And that continued for like nearly a 1000 years! As well as annoyances from the Vikings, Vandals, Visigoths, etc.
Then the Mohammedans were killing us. And the Tartars (same thing). And then there was the Reformation or, if you will, the Deformation. And there was quite a lot of killing. And, it must be noted that politics in Russia – where there was no reformation – continued the practice of “You have to know which emperor is a good guy and which is a heretic.” They are always behind the times. The English killed a lot of Christians. Oddly, claiming it was “in the name of Christ” by which they meant “Our monarch, Our money”.
Then the French started to kill us. And then the Communists. And the Klan. And the Muslims again. And here we are. So: out of the last 2000 years, how long as the Church been unharried? Not a long time at all. And why are we so convinced it’s over?
Yesterday I was blessed to hear the news that it is the intent of Catholic Charities of SF as well as the City of SF to ignore anti-immigrant rules initiated by the Feds. Well, cool. I hope such intent lasts. But how about you, personally? How about me? The next stage is set to be the making of a Database of all Muslim Persons? A whole lot of people (including myself) said we would register as Muslim just to gum up the works. But will we? Even if there is prison involved?
What’s the right thing to do? Jesus, be the light for our feet!
I think we’re coming to dark times. You know that if you’ve been reading my posts. I think people who are actually Christians will come under fire from people who hate Christians, but also from people who say they are Christians but are rather, as the Apostle says, “Of the Synagogue of Satan”. At issue will be praying for the secular authorities – which we are commanded to do – but what if those authorities command us things contrary to the Law of God? Well, then: Christians will have trouble. But what if the alternatives offered are also contrary to the Law of God? Well, then, we’ll be up a creek.
We now live in yet another era when realpolitik trumps religious faith so often, we think “just doing a little evil for greater good is ok…” Paul says no, that’s not the case at all. Christ is the King – full stop. This is why, I think, in an era of Nero, Caligula, and other such awesome rulers, St Paul said things like today: “I’m a slave of God”. And (in the alternative first reading for today, from 1 Timothy) “So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord” Jesus says, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?”
Who is the heretic and who is the good guy? Jesus, light our way! We have to let our light shine so that they will more-easily see where our heads are for chopping…