Friday, October 14, 2005

The Anti-Vegas

By Mitchell

Today's Gospel provides a rich depth of meaning and reflection. It contains familiar themes, as Fr. Tiffany pointed out - but different ways of looking at them.

It features this passage, as Jesus warns His disciples to avoid the hypocracy of the Pharisees:

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops."

Now, we're most familiar with the interpretation that here Jesus is referring to our sins being made public at the Last Judgment. And indeed, as Fr. Tiffany says, this is the dominant message that Christ wants to transmit.

And yet, there's more. Not only can we look at this as a warning about sin, we can also reflect on it in the context of our responsibility as Christians. This is a theme that has appealed to me recently, so I suppose it's no surprise that I'd find Fr. Tiffany's homily intriguing.

For as Christians we have an obligation to shout out the message of the Gospel, to carry it with us wherever we go - our workplace, our homes, our neighborhoods. Elsewhere Jesus says not to hide the lamp under a bushel basket (Mark 4:21). And with this in mind, let's go back and analyze Christ's words again. See how applicable this is? We must not whisper our faith behind the closed doors of our churches; instead, we must proclaim it on the housetops. The truth of His teachings can hardly take hold if it is concealed - it has to be revealed to the world, which is what He chose to do through His disciples.

And so again we come face-to-face with our duty as Christians. As I've mentioned at other times, this doesn't mean that we have to become street preachers, for not all of us are destined to live our vocations in the same way. But neither are we to hide from it, as so many professed Christians do in their public lives. If we aren't willing to live our faith in public, we have to conclude that it makes for a rather sour faith in private. This is what frustrates me as much as anything nowadays, this idea that you have to compartmentalize your life, and that it's somehow wrong for you to use your faith to inform various aspects of your life: the offic, the classroom, the halls of government.

You've probably all heard the tag line for those Las Vegas tourism commercials: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." As far as our faith is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth. What happens in church cannot stay in church; it must be taken to the streets, carried to the people. For how are those who hunger for the Word of God, those on the quest to satisfy the longing that is born in their hearts - how will they receve it, if not from us? Jesus trusted His disciples to impart His message; we, as heirs to the disciples, can do no less.

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