Last week, we departed on a journey concerning the cultural shift of the last 30 or so years. I stated that in the past there was a general societal decorum that guided what freedoms we all had and did not have, whereas today, freedom has gone the route of individualism. While this is good in many situations it does leave our culture open to the pitfalls of what I think freedom means and what you think freedom means, coming into conflict with one another. The question then is, how do we decide which person’s truth trumps the other person’s truth; in effect, what is truth? This is the question society is faced with today.
As Christians we have an advantage over the rest of society in that we believe not only that an absolute Truth exists, but that He has a name: Jesus Christ. In the scriptures He refers to Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. This isn’t just some sort of word game He is playing. He comes not only as our savior, but also our model and our guide. In Him we have a living example of what is true in each circumstance of daily life, and in theory, if everyone in society were to act just like Him we would all be perfectly happy.
We ask ourselves then, “Why don’t we get to it?” That is a wonderful question, and one answered by Jesus 2000 years ago, “Go and baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Hey, I think I’ve heard that somewhere before! That is the basic command of faith. The problem we run into is that we, whether consciously or not, have taken up residence in the thought process of society. We don’t want to “impose our views” on anyone else. While that may sound charitable, what you are in fact saying is that Jesus isn’t good for everyone. Think about that for a second, do you really think that Jesus can be harmful? While I would agree the way He is shared can sometimes be harmful, I would say that in Himself He would only be of benefit to society.
If we, then, were to try and become as much like Jesus in everything we do, from how we live, to how we think and act, we would be changing the world for the better and preaching the Gospel, often without words. This is an important point: if you literally do whatever Jesus would do in every circumstance you can’t go wrong. Who would Jesus vote for in an election? How would Jesus act in response to racism and bigotry? What laws would Jesus want passed? All too often we are afraid to push ourselves onto others, but Jesus is supposed to be good news and when was the last time you felt bad about spreading good news you received? Jesus still speaks in the world; He speaks through us, so we had better pray that we say what He would say, and say it how He would say it. Otherwise, we might literally be on the “Highway to Hell.”
Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen