Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday in the 12th Week of Ordinary Time (II)
Channel Surfing?

Readings: 2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3; Psalms 119:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40; Matthew 7:15-20
Picture: CC Pascal-P

Do you ever have trouble with the remote? Let’s say that, after a long day, you’re finally settling down to some moments of relaxation in front of the TV. But the remote doesn’t seem to work. You try all the buttons but the TV doesn’t respond. Pressing harder and longer doesn’t seem to make any difference. What could be wrong? It could be, of course, that the batteries are dead and need to be changed. But that’s not the only possible explanation. It may also be that you’re holding the wrong remote! Which is not unthinkable given the number of such gadgets an average household might have (unless you’re rich enough to have one of those universal ones). In addition to the one for the TV, there’s probably one for the DVD player, the CD player, the air-con, the fan… Even so, the reasonable thing to do after you realize you’ve got the wrong remote is to find the right one. How silly it’d be to continue pressing the buttons when they obviously don’t work.

Which is why it’s not too difficult to understand the king’s agitation in the first reading today. After generations of idol worship, an ancient book of the law is found in the Temple. And the king is cut to the heart. He realizes the implications of the find. It’s as though for the last tens and hundreds of years his people have been stubbornly pressing the buttons on the wrong remote. No wonder they never to get to watch the program they like. No wonder the Lord has abandoned them to the mercy of foreign armies. They have been trying to build their happiness on idolatrous practices. But now, thankfully, the right remote has been found. The king acts immediately. He consecrates himself and the nation to keeping the law of God. The other false remotes are forsaken.

The connection with our situation is not too difficult to make. It is at once a blessing and a curse that our society and our generation is often faced with a myriad of choices. Everyone wants, of course, to be happy. That’s the program we all want to tune into. But there are also so many different voices in the world telling us how to go about it: what to eat and how to dress, where to live and who to know, which schools to go to and what careers to pick. There are so many remotes to choose from. Is it any wonder that we often get hold of the wrong one? Even so, what seems difficult to understand is how some of us continue stubbornly to press the wrong buttons even when we begin to realize that the picture isn’t really changing. One reason this can happen is that, although we know the title of the program we want to watch – happiness – we often have a warped or otherwise inaccurate idea of what it looks like, or who’s starring in it. We don’t really know what this program is about, whether it’s a comedy, perhaps, or a documentary, a tragedy, or a reality show…

This is why it’s important to recall what our faith teaches us. As Christians, the program we are invited to watch – and indeed to participate in – is really a drama. It’s the drama of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, a drama that is so poignantly symbolized in the crucifix. Christ is at once our program and our remote. It is by the standard that he has set for us that we are to judge between the true and false prophets of our world, the latter to forsake, and the former to embrace.

What program are we watching? What buttons are we pushing? Which remote are we using, today?


  1. Sometimes, I wonder whether I've been pressing the wrong buttons or maybe I'm like that bird I saw last week. It had somehow gotten into an empty room next to mine. It kept trying to fly out through the window, but couldn't. Kept bouncing back dismally because the glass windows are all closed and covered with a layer of wired mesh.

    Startled to see me enter, it flew quickly to the table in the middle of the room. I actually gestured to it to wait, flipped the wire mesh, opened two window panes, then stood aside and watched it fly out to freedom.

    I wonder when God will send someone to do something like this for me, or at least reveal to me where my blind spots are. Then I don't have to keep banging against an invisible wall.

  2. Hi Father, I m turning 21. I m friend of therese and my name is clarissa. My email add:

    The breaking of the word is very meaningful to me. I learn from st peter and paul to follow god in different way being a priest, a sister or lay people.

    God have entered to your life and my life and other people life in different way to help the poor, in need and other way.

    I am very happy to be called a child of god. He have give me a wonderful life, family. friend and priest and other thing in my life.

    I wonder when will god will send someone to do something for me.