Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

One of the great paradoxes of Christianity is how can we reconcile the fact that Christ has called us to be free (as St. Paul reminds us in the second reading) and at the same time Catholicism demands such high standards from us? Many people see the rules, commandments and regulations of Jesus and the Church as a straightjacket. As a result many Christians have become very lax in their following of Christ. In the world today when it comes to fidelity to Christ and the Church many people renege on what they promised in rosier times. This phenomenon is not only evident in our religion, but also in other areas of our society. We could say that we live in the age of the drop out. So many people who have put their hands on the plough have looked back (using the example of Jesus in the gospel today) and as a result lacked commitment and fidelity; young people to the studies, husbands and wives to their marriage, priests to their ministry. So many today look back, lose sight of their goal, they are tempted to turn back or even quit altogether. Maybe part of the solution lies in our concept of freedom. If we take a good look at our lives can we say that we are really free? Are we not slaves at times to public opinion? Our actions and behaviour are regulated by what others say about us instead of personal conviction. We all know too well that if we were to pay attention to all the slander, calumnies, defamation and false accusations that are been said about us we would end up in a mental institution. Are we not slaves at times to materialism and the mood swings of the modern world? You have to dress like this to be with the times, to be cool. Is this what we call true freedom? Are we not slaves at times to our own bad habits, passions, and self-indulgence? The Church has often been accused of brainwashing its flock. I think that we are all being brainwashed. Are we not been brainwashed 24 hours a day by the media? How many times you will hear people quote as the absolute truth, something that they read on the paper or heard on the radio or received a tweet or a post on Facebook? Just look at the prevalence of social media today, when you’re out around you so many people are on their phones or tablets, even driving in the cars? We have become addicted to our phones and tablets. Human discourse and conversation is over. You see people all over posting on Facebook, its all down now to 144 characters that allows you to disrespect another’s person ideas and opinions and the more hatred and division that you can spew the higher your ratings. We are being turned into mummies, corpses, robots that don’t think for ourselves. We are all being brainwashed. The best thing to do is to find the best brainwasher. The only true liberty lies in obedience and fidelity to God. Just look at the example of Christ in the gospel today. He knew what lay ahead in Jerusalem but he was not going to let public opinion nor doubts deflect him from fidelity to the task undertaken. In the Church today we need committed followers of Christ, Catholics who will be faithful to their commitments in the face of public opinion. We need husbands and wives who will not renege on their commitments when difficulties come their way, husbands and wives who are willing to work to save their marriage. We need parents who are willing to dedicate themselves untiringly to their children. Jesus reminds us in the gospel that the door that leads to perdition is a wide and spacious one and many take it, but the door to eternal happiness is a narrow one and very few enter by it. The cross is unavoidable in the life of every true disciple because there is no other way to find the freedom of the resurrection.