THURSDAY

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Yesterday, we saw the contrast between light and darkness: choosing to live in darkness or choosing to come into the light. Today we have another contrast. This is expressed in John the Baptist’s words: 
“He who comes from above is above all others; he who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way.” 
The contrast is between two ways of looking at life: Jesus’ way and an earthly way. 

This puts a question before us: 

Do I see life in an earthly way; or do I see life in Jesus’ way? 

Seeing life in Jesus’ way is not easy in our modern world. Of course, Jesus’ way was never easy. But today, the “earthly way” of seeing life enters our lives, our homes and our families in ways never imagined possible in the past through the media, in movies, TV, songs, advertising and marketing.  The ever present mobile or smart phone ensures that the earthly message is virtually non-stop day-in and day-out. 

These contemporary values tell us that we should have everything, that nothing is beyond our reach and that we have the absolute right to the best life we can imagine.  We are told we must have more beauty, better health, more fun and exciting activities and the best mobile phones, cars, clothes and houses … and so on. 

We are told that “I, me and mine” are the important words in life. My life, my success, my status, my pleasure, my comfort is all important. And I must have more, more, more! 

In his great letter on holiness in today’s world, “Rejoice and be Glad”, Pope Francis speaks about the pressure of these earthly values: 

“The presence of constantly new gadgets, the excitement of travel and an endless array of consumer goods at times leave no room for God’s voice to be heard. We are overwhelmed by words, by superficial pleasures and by an increasing noise ….” (Gaudate et Exsultate, 29) 

As Christians today, it is hard for us to stop, stand back and distance ourselves from this “earthy way” of looking at life. It takes courage to “swim against the tide” and see life in Jesus' way and not as contemporary values suggest. 

In “Rejoice and be Glad”, Pope Francis speaks of the importance of moments of quiet, solitude and silence in our lives and asks: 

“How can we fail to realize the need to stop this rat race and to recover the personal space needed to carry on a heartfelt dialogue with God?” (Ibid, 29) 

Today the Gospel invites us to find moments of quiet, solitude and silence in our daily lives to hard look at the world, at life and at other people. The Gospel calls us to stand back from the rat race, distance ourselves and break free from the earthly way of looking at life. 

We must not settle for less by accepting an earthly way of living. As Pope Francis says in his letter on holiness: 

“The Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence.” (Ibid, 1) 

Jesus offers us the fullness of eternal life as our Gospel passage says: 

“Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life …” 
Jesus offers us more than short-lived pleasures, fun and excitement. Jesus offers us the fullness of life – the happiness for which we are created. 
  • “How can I fail to realize the need to stop this rat race and make time each day for a good chat with the Lord?”