Friday 29th Week Ordinary Time Mass Readings and Reflection: The Signs of The Times

Gospel reading of the day: Other readings from the Mass are here 
and this Sunday's Mass readings and Reflections are here 
Luke 12:54-59
Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. 
You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. 
I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

So what are the signs of the times these days ?
Just a few to pick out; there are so many !

This article by Peter Weinfel at  Commonweal about Catholics seems to be doing the rounds on many Catholic blogs and is worth a read although there are hardly many surprises.
It reports that one out of every three adult Americans who were raised Catholic have left the church - The UK situation is probably similar.
The cartoon on the left depicts the chatter of the hierarchy :
Seems no one listens to us on matters of Sexuality;
(Have they ever?)
People don't accept our teachings on Social Justice;
(perhaps because we don't practice it?)
Few really think that gays and lesbians are objectively disordered;

Catholics don't follow our directives re political elections;
More and more people are envisioning the Divine not solely as Male; ( gasp)
(Women are actually getting Ordained!) gasp
Regular attendance at Liturgy is abysmal and falling;
(They don't seem to like our new "old" language.)
We're not trusted to be among Children;
Our fund-raising campaigns go begging; . . .
The world is sure going to hell in a hand-basket, isn't it ?!

Then, yesterday we had the Government Comprehensive Spending Review, seeking solutions to the economic crisis.

    from Getty Images

The Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank warns that George Osborne's spending cuts will hit the poorest harder than the better off...... Half a million are destined to become unemployed over four years; that's about one in 10.

The excellent Dave Perry's blog Visual Theology has this to say:
God identifies with the poor. Cut the poor our of the Bible and you cut out God. Let those with ears to hear, hear.

Image above from Visual Theology  

Some cartoons in newspapers have commented on the difference between the Brits and France where millions have gone onto the streets to protest against the increase in Pension age whereas after a swathe of savage cuts the average Brit just sighs and puts the kettle on !

There are so many clarion calls for action in this world and we have to discern what is right and wrong in our response to an overwhelming number of causes.

The tired mantra chanted by the Chancellor George Osborne is

We are all in this together! Well said by a Viscount who after making huge spending cuts, departs in a  chauffeur driven car, safe in the knowledge that he is returning home to his wife who happens to be worth around £60 million, whilst lavishing in the fact that he himself is worth upwards of 15 million..........

I needed some music to end this post that would suit the mood and these just about fits the bill :  The band are Arcade Fire with  Wake Up.

The intensity and passion of this band and song are so amazing-  there are two versions: the first is with David Bowie.  The sound quality is marginally better on the second but it really deseves to be played at maximum loudness.

The third and last song by the same band is titled Modern man- ( the video is static).
Again the lyrics sums up the existential angst of modern man and the search of so many for meaning. - The modern systems that trap man into becoming a commodity himself (wage labour) while endless products (other commodities) become his obsession.

Back to the song:

"The clock keeps ticking" - modernity made time a commmodity. It's a part of that wage labour that man has become


Tim said...

Oh, Phil, the revolving door on our churches--not just Catholic, but all around--is an indictment of us all. So many of us have grown so resigned to backwards ideas and attitudes spilling over our pulpits, we've turned into faith zombies. There's more than archaic doctrine driving people away and keeping people out. Passivity has killed the sense of community in many congregations. Worship is lip service and fellowship is non-existent.

I'm extremely fortunate to attend a growing church, anchored by great preaching and worship. But just tonight, at a new members' seminar, I heard something most amazing. When asked why they were excited about joining our community, two remarked that the peace-passing ritual convinced them this church was where they belonged. "Why?" our pastor asked. Both agreed they'd never been to a church where the people had to be told, "It's time to move on." (As sometimes happens with us.)

Doctrine and liturgy are important, but I don't think they draw most people to church. Community that reflects Christ's gentle love and acceptance--regardless what the higher-ups decree--is what people are craving in these hard and lonely times.

We are the Body of Christ. We need to act like Him, move like Him, open our hearts and arms like Him--be like Him.

Thanks for this thought-provoking piece!


Barbara said...

Love Arcade Fire! Montreal is so proud of them. The addition of fiddles and accordion is so Quebecois!

Philomena Ewing said...

I always learn so much from what you say and you have given me a lot of things to ponder and act on here When I get despondent and inward looking I will remember your wonderful life giving words
"We are the Body of Christ. We need to act like Him, move like Him, open our hearts and arms like Him--be like Him."

Hi Barbara- I think I must live in a cave as I have only just discovered these !!