Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday in the Third Week of Lent - 2012

The first reading today, from the Book of Jeremiah, may be centuries old.  There is a pearl of wisdom in the prophet's word that can help modern society as it seeks to find itself, to rediscover the peace of mind and soul that many say has been lost.  In the Gospel we watch Jesus as he teaches the people of his time about certain demons that have impacted an individual but his society as well.   These are Yahweh's words to Jeremiah for his people as well as God's people today.

This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.

The word "demon" certainly brings to mind something mysterious, a power that attempts to do evil in a person or a society's life.  Have you ever encountered a "good demon"?  In our lifetime we have had the good fortune to experience so many inventions or to learn new insights into human existence that many of the centuries-old "demons" have been destroyed by science and human intelligence.  Consider all that science has uncovered in the last 50 years; consider all that medicine has discovered in our lifetime.  Many myths have been interred forever during our time on this earth.

Yet, the presence of demons in our societies has not totally ended.  Old demons and newer demons brought about by our marvelous discoveries continue to demand of us that we listen again to what Yahweh and Jeremiah, his voice at the time, spoke to the people.  Just take a moment to list in your mind or on paper the demons of the 21st century.  Let me suggest a few:  what is the demon or demons that so vigorously attack family life?  What is the demon that drives world leaders, people of power, to create wars, to suppress peoples, to walk over the poor?  Why has humanity not recognized that greed is a vicious demon that harms so many individuals and institutions?  How many are the families and homes leveled by greed?
Why are there so many varied demons who seem to succeed in convincing men and women that there is no need for God?

Again, turning to words from Jeremiah, we are given an answer to many of these questions.  God does not compete with the non-stop "noise" in our world today.  "Listen to my voice," were his words.  And many of our ancestors who were able to make the leap from the noise around them to the world of silence continue to tell us:  Find time for quiet; set aside time in your day to listen for the whispers that come from our God.  Perhaps the strongest demon in our time is "busyness."  So often among so many:  "I just do not have time to pray, to listen to God."  Oh, how poor have we become if this is our mantra!