Friday, March 20, 2020

Friday of the Third Week of Lent

The unthinkable happened: I tried to get into Netflix but my smart tv was having none of it. No matter how hard I tried and unplugging/replugging everything, I lost the connection. Panic. All this time by myself and not being able to connect with any app on my tv. After scrolling through over 300 cable stations (the cable works) and finding nothing but garbage, I surrendered and wrote this. Then it’s time for a long read.

We get so dependent upon our technology: iPhones, computers, Amazon deliveries, endless gadgets, and the internet to read or spread vile comments. We create “idols” out of things or experiences, all ways to spend our time, and usually, our money. Many of us have lots of free time now that we are staying at home. This is going to be difficult for many of us who have a hard time sitting still and being alone.

The readings from Mass remind us that there is only one God, Who we are to love with all our hearts, minds and strength, and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. That's it!! The greatest and most important of the law. Love of God, neighbor and self. This simple, foundational law gets lost in the shuffle of time.

It seems to be in our nature to turn things into idols, even though we are too sophisticated to call them “gods,” as they did in the time of Hosea the Old Testament prophet. But we are just attached to these little godlike idols in the form of Netflix binging, my personal idol of choice. There are countless others.

What’s yours? Lent, yes we are in what may turn out to be the longest “lent” of our lives, is the season to admit that, no matter how smart and sophisticated we think we are, no matter how advanced we think we are spiritually or theologically, in the end, we are no different than our spiritual ancestors. Hosea, our first reading prophet, teaches us to find hope in the midst of crisis. How much more timely can his message be? He wrote 700 years before Christ, nearly 3,000 years ago!!!! The people he was speaking to turned things into power that they could control, displacing God.

This time of so much uncertainty can be a time to put aside our over dependence in things and comforts. We need to stop living in chronological time, which just measures time, spends time and wastes time, and live once again the time of KAIROS by. In this time, we don’t measure, we allow God to enter, Who transforms our hearts and minds, so that we lose track of time and live in the moment. Truly LIVE in the moment, experiencing each breath as taking in the Spirit. As we “live” in the moment, we can LOVE in the moment, as grace, God’s gift, fills us.

No need to worry about connecting to Netflix. I’ll be just fine as God speaks to me in the silence.

Fr. Frank