The Readings for Monday in the 14th week, Tempus per Annum (C1)
Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you…
Jacob sees all that’s going on and suddenly “…there was the LORD standing beside him…” To make free with a later vision in the Bible, God was not in the vision of ladders and angels, God was a quiet voice beside him.
We can get distracted by all the things (even holy things) that are going on around us. We forget the one thing important, that God is right there…
The Late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago made an oft-quoted comment about the increasing secularization in our world and how the Church would fare in it. (Tim Drake sussed out the quote and the context here.)
I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.
Although that bit about his successor may be premature, it’s the last bit that seems important for our readings today.
God will protect us wherever we go. It’s actually not going to get any easier. I think, in fact, it’s going to get harder from here on out because God doesn’t change. The things God asks of us, expects of us, and the things God wants us to be do not change. We’re going to have to fight all the harder just to hold on. We will not let you go until you bless us. It’s a hard struggle, but the truth is God is not changing: it is the world that is changing around us. Holding on to God is the easiest thing we can do. It’s the path of least resistance because God is not changing. We don’t have to run to keep up with God. We only need to hold on and wait.
Truth is, we don’t want to. We’d rather let go and float along with the current.
God himself walks into the room and says, “Don’t worry she’s not dead she’s only asleep.” And the crowd ridicules God to his face. The girl really was dead. But God is not the god of the dead but of the living. To God, that girl was only asleep. That’s how God sees all of us. We are seen by God as so different from the way the world sees us. The world may not be mourning us, but the world thinks we’re stupid. The world is not sad over us, but the world thinks we’re backward. The world does not regret leaving us behind, but the world does think we’re haters. God says otherwise. The world laughs at God.
I don’t think it’s going to get any easier: it’s going to get harder. Cardinal George continues:
God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history.
We see this as today. Both left and right in our political spectrum seem to espouse the same things. Violence is only directed at different parties. The church, strangely, gets it from both sides. That is as it should be. While some on the left think we’re too conservative and some on the right think we’re too liberal we should just be about the business of God. Holding on to God, the one point that does not change or move in the midst of all this chaos.
In the end, it will be up to us to follow Cardinal George’s final option. The Church must “pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”