Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.”
Yesterday morning I went to visit a family. The TV was on and while I was waiting for them I sat down and watched, for the very first time in my life, a soap opera. It was “All My Children.” I only watched about two minutes of it, but what I saw was enough to make me understand the power of the media in advocating cultural change. When I sat down, I saw some guy dialoging with another woman. He wanted custody of his son who was currently living with his mom, the man’s ex-wife, who, it turns out, is romantically involved with another woman. The father, disgusted by the fact that his son was living with two women, was determined to get him back. The woman he was speaking to looked shocked! She asked the poor man, “What time warp did you come out of!” Her question was as if this father belonged to the Dark Ages and not to the third millennium. Let me remind everyone that in the year 2000, not a single state had legalized same-sex marriages.
Of course the dialogue was one sided. The man was illogical, illiterate, and incoherent while the woman was highly sophisticated, intelligent, and totally up-to-speed with the latest legal and propagandistic paradigms afforded to her by the media.
I don’t mind television shows bringing up social issues. What I don’t like is that the dialogues are absolutely lopsided. Therefore, soap operas are the first in setting the stage. That is, those who disagree with same-sex marriage are quickly dismissed by the crowd as being an idiot, a fanatic, an illogical or illiterate bigot from the “Dark Ages.”
In reading today’s Gospel, I am struck at how some virgins were so naive. Obviously, they had not taken the advice of their parents! Be prepared at all times! We know honey, we’ve seen it before! We know these virgins were not the first to go out looking for a groom. But because of their pride and vanity, they had decided to ignore the advice of their ancestors, running right out the door and never thinking twice or looking back. The same is true today. It's always exciting to do something new or to change things up. But you cannot forget the essentials. It's exciting when you first get your driver's license and begin to drive, but you have to keep in mind the very boring act of filling up the tank! We rush to establish new laws, new rights, new definitions, without ever quite understanding what the impact may be! We think we know it all. We should all know by now; we don’t!
Hollywood actors and rock stars love to surprise their audience by breaking taboos! What they end up doing is breaking themselves, but not before the damage is done! They have a strong influence on many of our youth, because many of our youth are weak and insecure; and they are weak and insecure because many of their parents are weaker and more insecure. It’s no wonder we live in such a wounded and broken time.
Christian movie studios and artists are becoming a greater force in America. Movies with values are still box office hits! Music that lifts up the soul will always outperform and outlive music that degrades the human person (and body). The truth does not change, regardless of the changing times. Christians built this nation. Christians continue to build all that is positive and good in our nation. We need to encourage them and the next generation that follows!
The changing of our times simply means we need to come prepared: with our flasks full and our flame burning brightly.
“Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.”