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?”
Discovery Channel has a program known as Animal Planet. How fitting. But what is even more fitting is its subtitle: surprisingly human.
In today’s first readings, St. Paul urges us “to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received” (Eph 4:1). You would think by now we would be getting closer to the Kingdom of God. Instead, it seems like we’re moving ever closer to the Animal Kingdom.
This phenomenon might be due to the fact that we’ve gotten bad at predicting the weather. That’s the only explanation I have in how bad we’ve become in predicting human behavior.
When you go outside in Texas, and there’s a strong cold wind that greets you, you know it’s coming from the North. When you feel a blazing heat, you know it’s coming from the South.
Yesterday, I was speaking to a young student who told me that their best friend had recently become their worst enemy. They began to share with me all the awful things this “friend” had done. I asked this young person what they thought the problem might be. They didn’t have a clue. When they finished, I said: “It sounds like she’s having family problems.” There was a look of confusion. I asked, “Do you know her mother?” The student replied, “Well, her mother is in rehab.” I asked about her father. They replied, “Her father left them. She’s being raised by her grandparents.”
Oh, I get it. Do you?
Is it so hard to see? Is it so hard to judge things? “Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.”
What are these mysteries? Maybe we can address them with maxims:
· If you try smashing the commandments, you won’t succeed. But you will end up breaking apart.
· If you try to crucify the Lord, you'll end up crucifying yourself.
· The further away you get from Christ, the greater the chance you’ll get lost.
· Major problems always start off small.
Is this so hard to see? Is this all a mystery to you? What about these maxims:
· An absent father and mother leads to a child seeking affection in all the wrong ways and places.
· The smaller the family, the more expensive the problems.
· Immodesty is a reflection of insecurity.
· Promiscuity leads to poor self-esteem.
· Spoiled kids tend to manipulate their parents.
Sure, there are exceptions to every rule. But, who wants to live with the odds always being against you?
Even in this political year, some things should be clear:
· When someone attacks who, it means they’ve given up on solving the problems.
· When someone belittles you, it means they have little confidence in their abilities.
· When someone resorts to foul language, it means they are desperate.
The Lord asks the crowd: “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”
The world has been collecting a lot of data for some time now. We have data in just about everything! We know what works and what does not work. So why are we still so confused? It might be because what works doesn’t necessarily sell as well as what does not work as well. There’s a lot of money to be made in false hopes and false ideas. There’s a lot of pressure to keep the public as stupid as possible.
At the last Presidential debate, Mitt Romney commented that we had “fewer ships today than in 1917”. The President of the United States responded by saying, “Yes, and we have fewer horses as well.” I have to admit: I laughed very hard! I laughed because of how cheap the President’s response was and how expensive the problem is. I wish I could have responded. I would have said, “Mr. President, you must have forgotten how a $150,000 Humvee is blown up by a $100 IED. You must have forgotten that we have been forced to replace each Humvee with a $250,000 JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle). Did you forget how the USS Cole was destroyed buy a raft? Don’t you think we need quality as well as quantity, for we never know what the enemy will throw at us?”
You should know this by now.