*In my haste, I mistakenly wrote yesterdays reflection based on the wrong day! Today, we’re going backwards in time to the reading from the Mass of March 1.
At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: I go, and you will seek Me, and in your sin you will die. Where I go you cannot come. The Jews therefore kept saying, Will He kill Himself, since He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’? And He said to them, You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sin. They therefore said to Him, Who are You? Jesus said to them, Why do I speak to you at all? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you; but He Who sent Me is true, and the things that I heard from Him, these I speak in the world. And they did not understand that He was speaking to them about the father. Jesus therefore said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that of Myself I do nothing; but that I preach only what the Father has taught Me. And He Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, because I do always the things that are pleasing to Him. John 8:21-29
How hard is it to speak truth, especially when the majority of those around you don’t want to hear it, or are unable to hear it because it would require such a massive shift in world view?
Plato taught something called “The Allegory of the Cave”. In the story, you are asked to imagine a group of people chained hand and foot, facing a wall where in front of them a fire is lit. People walk past carrying statues of various things: animals, tools, plants, anything you can imagine. Plato asks us to consider that one of the people chained somehow gets free, and in their escape, is able to see that in reality, what they thought were the things in themselves were just clay statues being carried by people past a fire. The man escapes the cave, and standing in the light of day is blinded because the sun is so very bright, and he has never seen the light of day before. Then suddenly, he begins to see the things that he has only before known as either shadows, or the statues that are thrown on the wall when those statues are carried past a fire.
This person finds ecstasy. And in that pure moment of joy, returns to the cave to tell the prisoners they had lived with for so long. In telling them what they had seen, the prisoners are so perplexed and infuriated, they kill the person who had been freed.
Love your enemies. For many that frames as love Donald Trump, love the people who support Donald Trump. Love big oil, and the people who believe that oil is necessary. Love the liberal, the politically correct person who drives you insane with the need to pussy foot around everything, the crazy green hippie. Love the activist who dances against the reality of pandemic wearing shorts on a winter day. Love the militant christians who work so hard to push people out rather than welcome people in. Love the anarchist, the satanist, the agnostic and the athiest. Love the abortionist. Love the pro-life activist. So many opportunities for love where anger easily fills in the cracks.
This is a hard teaching. What makes it especially hard is that, only in loving these people do we find Christ.
Suddenly, the camel passing through the eye of a needle makes sense, yes?
It takes practice. I struggle greatly, and even fail mostly. But I think that it will boil down in the end to the energy we spend in the attempt rather than how we succeed or fail. At least I hope so!