Called To Get On With It
Thoughts on the Second Readings by Joe Frankenfield
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 5:14-20

The-world-is-going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket conversations are a favorite sedentary recreation. The young cite the previous generation for trashing the universe. The middle-aged bemoan the stupidity of political, economic or religious powers. The old are sure that the youngsters will never measure up to life’s call. Whoever we deem the culprit, the game’s the same and most of us, myself included, take the field at the slightest opportunity.

Over the years though I’ve noticed that the people who are most involved in life and most effective in making it better rarely step up when someone lobs the first woe. Maybe it’s because they’re too busy to play. Maybe it’s that they don’t want to waste their time plodding down a path leading nowhere. My best guess, however is that the people moving life along don’t view the world as a hopeless morass and they don’t enjoy kvetching as though it were. My guess is that they’re too intent on the possibilities of life and focused on realizing them.

Catholic Tradition finds faith, hope and charity to be the foundation stones of life. Hope allows us to look at the heart of life as it is and find there not just the promise of progress but the means to make the progress happen.

Hope is not naïve. It shows neither strength of character nor deep faith to look at our world and break into rapture at its imagined perfection. Those with a modicum of sense know the vast distance between how life is and how it could be and should be. Not only do they know that fact, they share the immense pain it visits on millions.

There’s evil in the world – but the world isn’t evil. God knows that, else the planet would have been a cinder long ago. Our mere existence demonstrates that God finds people good and full of potential to be much better. Those in harmony with God see that.

There are more interesting things to do than pitch woe into someone’s basket.