Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The world's default mode is basic indifference

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.: (1929 – 1968: American Civil Rights Leader - Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches)

Gospel Text: (MT 11:20-24)
Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

In the gospel, Jesus seems quite upset. I always try to pay attention when Jesus is showing great emotion. I have to ask, "Is he talking to me?" The historical reality Jesus is dealing with is quite applicable to us today. He has literally worked miracles in some of the towns he has visited and brought the Good News of God's love. And the response has been quite disappointing. When I was reading Pope Francis' encylclical, Laudato Si: On Our Care for Our Common Home, I got to the part where the Holy Father lays out this incredible story of what has happened to our planet and to the poor on the margins everywhere, and how the evidence of the degradation is so clear, and so much of the world seems not to want to respond. We deny that we are to blame and we sure don't believe we should have to change our consumption patterns to save anyone else. There is too often an indifference to the suffering and the chain reaction of consequences. I wondered what Pope Francis would do at that point in his letter. I was getting discouraged myself. I was so surprised and comforted, inspired and lifted up, because Francis expresses deep hope. There is hope that some people are responding. There is hope that small, local efforts are making a difference. There is hope that a number of conferences have raised the issues to a transnational level. He sees hope in the fact that many are beginning to see this as our common home and that dialogue is beginning. And, I see hope that Pope Francis is calling us to this dialogue and to a personal, local, national and international response, His heart must be full of grace. Even though he knows it will be a slow response, he trusts that God will bring healing and peace, rescuing us from what we have done and what we have failed to do.

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