Jn 16:12-15 The Spirit of Truth
Most of us would like to believe that the cause of evil is ignorance. We were taught to believe that racism, discrimination, bullying, and other social ills can all be eliminated through education. This is a philosophical argument to a spiritual reality that continues to be a real and ongoing problem, even as we finish the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Working with our youth, I can honestly say that the problem is not that they don’t know any better. The problem is that they could care less.
I doubt that many of you listen to African-American rappers. But if you do, you will hear them frequently refer to themselves by the n-word. If a student witnesses another getting bullied, chances are it is because they are videotaping it for a future Youtube presentation.
The new philosophy, gaining momentum and ground, isn’t necessarily spoken but it is written all over our face! “Who cares if it’s right or wrong, good or bad? What difference does it make?” It makes all the difference in this world and in the next. The consequences can be seen on the nightly news as more young people implode and explode into fits of anger, suicide and terror.
The debates I get into these days have less to do with education and more to do with attitude. St. Paul gave a stunning performance at the Areopagus (cf. Acts 17:22) and was laughed out of the Assembly! But as history would point out, he would have the last laugh. The ancients created their own myths – their own gods, temples, cult and code of conduct. They knew it too, and eventually it met its fate, its demise. Myths pass away. What is human always passes away. But what is divine remains.
And what is divine? “I have much to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” What is it that we cannot bear to hear? What is the Spirit of Truth leading us to? The answer is shocking: to pray for and to forgive our enemies. It is not something we want to hear. What is better than a dead Usama Bin Laden? A converted Usama Bin Laden. It’s hard to hear. We don’t like to hear this. We prefer to pray for the victims of crime but never for the criminals. Well, who needs our prayers the most, the victims or the criminals? Both, but the eternal salvation of the criminal is at risk, a very high risk of being lost.
I knew that there was a reason why I was constantly getting delayed in getting this meditation out today. I just met with a woman from the parish who knows what it means to suffer. A few years ago she was introduced to the Divine Mercy Chaplet. She was been drawn to it ever since. It occupies her mind, her heart and her actions. But she did not know what to do with it. She noticed that the day we got Usama Bin Laden coincided with Divine Mercy Sunday and the beatification of John Paul II. It appears as though coincidences increase with those who pray. She asked me what I thought, what she should do? While she spoke I was inspired to tell her to start a Divine Mercy Prayer Group, enlist her friends to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet once a week, and to find in the newspapers the names of criminals they should pray for.
This, I told her, would be very pleasing to the Lord because I know it is not happening enough. How often do we hear in our Sunday petitions to pray for those who abuse, commit abortions and other horrible crimes? It is not politically correct I guess. But the Lord was never politically correct. When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide us to all truth.
Let us pray for those who need our prayers. Let us pray, with the Holy Spirit, for the conversion of sinners. They often make the greatest of Saints!