Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday in the 28th Week of Ordinary Time (I)
Memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
The Evil of Apathy

Readings: Romans 1:1-7; Psalm 98:1bcde, 2-3ab, 3cd-4; Luke 11:29-32

This generation is an evil generation…

In the gospel, Jesus addresses his listeners with these very strong words at a time when more people gathered in the crowd. We may wonder at the reactions he might have evoked. You are evil! Me? Evil? How? Why? Why, indeed! Were they murderers or terrorists? Were they fornicators or paedophiles? Perhaps there were some among them who were guilty of these things. And yet, when we consider Jesus words more carefully, we see that he considers his generation evil not so much because of what it is doing as much as for what it fails to do. In contrast to the queen of the south who came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, in contrast to the people of Nineveh, who repented when they heard the preaching of Jonah, Jesus’ generation does nothing, it fails to respond. Instead, it seeks a sign.

It fails to appreciate what Paul appreciates in the first reading. Here, we see Paul expressing his deep conviction on two crucial points: his own identity and the identity of Jesus. Paul sees himself as the slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God. And this Jesus Christ, this master whom he serves, is nothing less than the Son of God. It is out of this sense of who he is in relation to Christ that conditions everything that Paul says and does, including the writing of the letter to the Romans. Paul’s life is a response to the one who called him.

Isn’t this what’s so singularly striking about Jesus’ accusation: that it contrasts so starkly with what we might traditionally think of as evil? For Jesus, evil seems to consist less in doing bad things than it does in failing to appreciate who we are in the sight of God, and consequently failing to respond to the call of God, the call to be members, labourers, even slaves in God’s vineyard.

And what of us? What of our generation? In a world plagued by the evils of poverty and war and environmental degradation, what kind of response are we being called to make?

If today Jesus were to cast his eyes on us, on our generation, what verdict would he pass?


  1. Fr. Chris, your sharing today reminds me of what Fr. Luke shared on Thu about the priorities of our generation.

    Many times in our rush, we forget that we all have a vocation as "spouse", "parent", etc, no less important because each family is a branch in Jesus, our Vine.

    Squessing an opportunity to share the Word of God with the children in their busy schedule can make a big difference to their lives because children look up to parents as examples. As Mother Teresa said, doing God's work is not always doing something great but it is in doing something small but with great love.

    I agree with Fr. Luke that it is our responsibility to create the right environment for our children to experience the love of Christ for all of us. Like it or not, I believe good moral grounding is the solution to many of today's problems.

    And hopefully, we will be a generation that will not need to ask a for a "sign" to believe but believe because we have faith.

  2. I agree with evol's comments on our vocations as spouse and parent.

    My husband is so busy working and rushing around that he tries to compensate by buying expensive toys for the kids. Then he ends up scolding them for being too engrossed in the latest game...

    I prefer to spend more time instead of money on the kids, as I want to have a lasting influence on their values.

    Apathy towards our own children will come back to haunt us when they are older. Most parents would not do something bad towards their own, but they do miss out on opportunities to do good or overlook faults as they don't want to scold. We ahould discipline and mould our kids when they are still "bendable", and these years are really short.

  3. On the question of vocation:

    "I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you. Something worth living for -- maybe even worth dying for -- something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead. I can't tell you what it might be. That's for you to find, to choose, to love." -- Ita Ford

  4. In my daily work, I deal with the Gen Y, MTV / YouTube generation. Being someone old enough to be their parent, I never fail to be baffled by their outward attitudes and behavior which, to be honest, put me off. And yet, if you scratch beneath the surface, you'll discover nuggets of genuine goodness. Kids in wolves' clothing?

    The lesson I will always carry around with me is to look deep beneath the surface, for that spark of godliness which is innate in even the "evil" generation. My next challenge is to relate to them as Jesus would and, in the process, reinforce / affirm the godliness in them.

    You can't stop Rock N Roll.