The rantings of the godless, which we heard in the first reading from the Book of Wisdom suggest the attitude of the world against believers in Christ. By now Christians living in contemporary society must have grown used to these rantings of the impious who cry wolf about hate, intolerance, and discrimination but do not mind using every discriminatory tactic to further their radical agenda. The gradual awakening unfolding before us is that enmity of the world is the lot of those closely associated with Christ. Jesus warned his disciples in John 15:19, “If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own. But because I chose you from this world, and you do not belong to it, that is why the world hates you.”
You have certainly heard the charge from some media groups and their pundits that our ideas do not square well with modern society and that we should adapt to the values (or lack of values) of present day society. Both we and our adversaries are confronted with the question: Can Christianity absorb the brazen errors of modern society without losing the Christ-principle within it? It will amount to nothing less than a frivolity to avail of, to ascend to, to adapt to the deviant mores that have necessarily produced the current crisis in the society. Worldliness and godlessness are one and the same thing; and their primary enemy is the Christian-spirit. The only option for Christians confronted by the deadweight of modernity is to consistently and deliberately swim countercurrent to the ways of the world. So-called Christian groups that have attempted to bargain with worldliness have found themselves gradually de-Christianized. Mediocrity has become the penalty for their loss of conviction.
The world, according to Sheen, allows only the mediocre to live. It hates the very wicked and the very good. It hates the very wicked, like serial-murderers, because they disturb its possessions and security. It hates the very good, like our Blessed Lord and His teachings, because He disturbs its conscience. The Book of Wisdom 2:12 notes why the world hates virtue and people who pursue virtuous living: “He annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for breaches of the law and makes known to us the sins of our way of life.” Consequently, social engineers think that by redefining a sin it would no longer sound offensive and queer. Hence, by means of accompanying slogans, moral evils are sugarcoated to sound like they are desirable good; so when you hear words like privacy, individual rights, equality, gentlemen’s club, alternate lifestyle, etc., they no longer sound like moral evils. Because they are polished words of propaganda, they can actually be employed not just to advance the causes in question but even to vilify the nonconsenting and anyone who tries to question the falsehood inherent. Sadly, such triumph of radicalism has become entrenched as a dictatorship of relativism (to use the words of Pope-Emeritus Benedict). Mechanized opinion, imitation of cheap celebrities, dependence on ‘they say’ or ‘they’re wearing’ for guidance has dwarfed the senses and rendered the intellect numb.
In this age of sophistication and arrogance, our Lord teaches us today the value of littleness and humility. To the apostles arguing about who was the greatest, he presented a little child. He clearly tells them that in order to see anything big, one must be physically little. That is why, to every little child, his dad is the biggest man in the world. As he ceases to be little, the world shrinks in size. Anyone who magnifies the ego to infinity cannot learn anything because there’s nothing greater than the infinite. And anyone who thinks that she knows everything, not even God can teach her. God’s lesson on humility and littleness was to become a little baby in order to serve and save his creatures. Even modern theorists acknowledge that true greatness comes through service of others.
Fr. Chukwudi Jo Okonkwo