READY WITH A REASON FOR OUR HOPE
Sixth Sunday of Easter (A)
May 29, 2011
I am amazed at how people focused and bent on doing something, find every reason under the sun to justify whatever it is they want. We all know that. We always find what we are looking for. The New Agers call it the Law of Attraction, using pseudo science and pseudo spirituality to talk about attracting positive ions to oneself, by sheer force of focus and mind control. They speak about the Age of Aquarius, replete with planets aligning and forces gathering to bring about a new age of splendor, a new age of peace, and everything nice, fine, and dandy.
Wishful thinking, no less …
But one has to give it to them that they do have a ready answer at hand to non-believers. The conviction with which adherents of the “flower power” movement of yore stood for what they believed, is, indeed, remarkable.
So is the rabid enthusiasm of those who are for or against the RH bill in Philippine setting. Both sides are ready with reasons galore to back up their position for or against. The pros do it with their own set of so-called scientific studies. The antis have a no less reliable set of scientific data to prop up their cause. The pros have demographic reasons to support what they claim. The antis have their own studies that support the declining birth rate and the coming demographic winter. The pros liberally quote poverty as the single most powerful cause that drives them. The antis proffer the blatant fact that lessening the population would not necessarily solve poverty.
Each one has a ready reason! Some are cogent. Some are facetious. A great many are trivial. And a significant percentage of it is personally demeaning and vicious – such as all sorts of name-calling and subtle and not-so-subtle attacks and innuendoes.
Nobody, of course, talks about what motivates both camps. That is an internal matter that no one can judge.
But this internal invisible matter is precisely the point. For at bottom, the real issue about the whole brouhaha is really an invisible, spiritual one. It has to do with values that go beyond the here and the now … values that are eminently more important than having a lower population growth, and getting less poor people, like as if, poor people were the problem.
Yes, it is a matter of faith and morality. And being a matter of faith and morality does not mean it is limited to catholics only. Spirituality and salvation is not limited to catholics. The good life, understood as a life of virtue is not limited to catholics. The good life or the virtuous life, a life of sincerity and honesty and union with God, no matter His name for members of varied religions, a life of morality and a life in pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful and eternal is never limited to catholics, but to all men and women of good will regardless of what affiliation they belong to.
Both sides have ready reasons, alright. But ready reasons alone do not make for integrity and holiness and respectability. One can have all the ready reasons up one’s sleeve, but not be right. The amount of arguments for or against anything does not dictate what is to be followed as right and honorable. Statistics and the number of legislators who vote for or against something is not the standard for what is right.
Yes, Virginia … right does not come from might in terms of numbers. And definitely not from a biased mass media who shoot down anything from the Church, and play down everything that supports the Church’s position!
Yes, reasons alone do not make for righteousness. But it is reasons that are ready and at hand, and whose readiness is connected with a spiritual value – hope! And yes, hope’s object is not just about material things today and tomorrow. Hope’s object is not just about a better life for a leaner number of people, and yes … hope is not about doing away with seemingly hopeless teeming masses of the poor. Hope is all about having a spirituality that is focused on the other worldly and the eternal.
St. Peter speaks about the meaning of this hope. And this is precisely what it is all about … it’s ultimate object is not here and now and this world and a more easy life for a leaner few. It has to do with life that is greater, life that goes beyond earthly life, a life that has to do with having “Christ the Lord in [our] hearts.” It has to do with eternal, spiritual values. It has to do with looking for ways and means to do good, but also doing them rightly. And doing things rightly does not follow the rule of the majority, but on the living teaching of a living Church that is the living voice of a living God.
Ultimately, the ready reasons we ought to have has to do with love for God. But love for God and His values is not just all about fine, nice, dandy, and warm feelings that one has during retreats and the occasional visit of the Holy Father to our shores. It has to do with love, and love means “keeping the Lord’s commandments.” “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Yes … by all means, have your reasons ready, but do it for the right reason … Do it in the name of heavenly, not just earthly, hope!