Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2017
Once upon a time, telephones were just for talking. Then, one day, it somehow happened that phones became “smart.” They learned how to do research and answer questions, store information, pay bills, buy things from stores, and give directions.
And so, one day, I was in the sacristy after presiding at a weekday morning Mass when someone asked to see me. The lady was well known to me, so I was concerned about what was on her mind. She wasted no time in explaining that she was very bothered by a man who “is always on his cell phone during Mass.” She wanted to alert me to what she considered to be disrespect bordering on sacrilege. It was her hope that I would put a stop to this behavior.
I immediately realized that she was talking about a younger man, a daily Communicant and good and faithful disciple, who is in the habit of following the Readings of the day on his Smart phone. I told my scandalized friend that the man was not talking on the phone, but using it to pray. She was skeptical. So, I pulled out my own smart phone and clicked onto the daily email that comes from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, distributing the Scripture passages of the day. She looked at my phone, satisfied herself that what was on the small screen in writing was what she had just heard proclaimed during Mass, and then passed the phone back to me and said: “I don’t care! This just isn’t right.”
Maybe it’s not this way with young people, but I think that most members of AARP appreciate a written bank statement delivered to the mailbox, a printed receipt for a major purchase, a pamphlet with assembly instructions, and, in spite of the fact that even senior citizens have learned to use GPS, we feel a sense of security knowing that there is a road map in our glove box. Many people simply do not feel comfortable without seeing things written down…ON PAPER.
Maybe that is why God saw fit to give Moses The Law engraved on tablets of stone. God knew that the written law would provide the people a sense of certainty and security. It simplified their lives having things written down. The people felt that if they observed what is written “in stone,” they would be pleasing to God.
But then, God did something so revolutionary that it can never be repeated. God spoke the Eternal Word into the Blessed Mother. And with Mary’s cooperation, God’s Word took flesh to walk among us. With Jesus, God didn’t send more stone tablets or written rules and laws, but A Divine Person. Jesus, fully human (just like us in all things but sin) and at the same time, fully Divine, is God’s most beautiful, complete and unrepeatable way of showing the Divine Self to us. Jesus is the summation of God’s will and God’s ways. That is to say, if we know Jesus, then we know “The Law,” not written on stone, but on The Lord’s Sacred Heart, on fire with love for us. Jesus is God’s most perfect way of communicating and communing with us. Without stone tablets, scrolls, books, laws…with only One Living Word…Jesus…God shows us the plan for us. Jesus IS who we could have been, but for the original sin. Jesus IS who we should strive to be more like as we walk through this life. Jesus IS who those that strive to follow HIS WAY will become when they leave time to dwell in eternity.
In spite of all of this, many simply respond: “I don’t care! This just isn’t right.” They go off a different way, listening to other voices, following bad directions, influenced by false messages and directed into darkness. They become lost.
Those who follow The Way of the Lord, however, walk in the Light of Christ. Through Jesus, God has simplified our lives here in this life, and assured those who follow “The Way” a destination of eternal peace and joy!