In all the readings for this Sunday, there is a call to be ready for God: “see that you are dressed for action, and have your lamps lit”.
Paganism at the time of Jesus is not like paganism in New Zealand today. In the past, paganism was still like a kind of a ‘religion’ in the sense that most pagans still had a belief in some kind of god/s and a willingness to pray to god/s. The paganism of our time is very different. What pervades our societies today is a paganism that is hostile to things of God, and at times, even pro-actively set out to attack religions. It is a paganism that asserts the meaningless of life, thus it tends towards materialism. I would like to think that an increase in youth suicides in our country, and even the push for the legalization of euthanasia are but consequences of the spread of our modern day paganism in our society.
Conscious of the modern day paganism, Pope Saint John Paul II, used to say to youth gathering at World Youth Day: “Do not be content with anything less than the highest ideals!” ….”Do not let yourselves be dispirited by those who are disillusioned with life, and have grown deaf to the deepest and most authentic desires of their heart,” “You are right to be disappointed with hollow entertainment and passing fads, and with aiming at too little in life,” he adds. “If you have an ardent desire for the Lord, you will steer clear of the mediocrity and conformism so widespread in our society.” He continues: “In this secularized age, when many of our contemporaries think and act as if God did not exist, or are attracted to irrational forms of religion, it is you, dear young people, who must show that faith is a personal decision that involves your whole life.” …..”Our personal encounter with Christ bathes life in new light, sets us on the right path, and sends us out to be his witnesses.” In effect, the Pope calls youth to become missionaries in today´s society.
As Christian’s our faith necessarily demand that we witness to it. To witness is to evangelise. But to evangelise is not simply ‘to convert’ someone; it is more of drawing others to the truth. God came to us as a unifying force, showing us ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’. Christ’s death on the cross is the calling of all humanity, drawing them into one with God and with each other. The Mass, is that same sacrifice that calls all peoples, all nations together…..
Thus to be ‘dressed for action have our lamps lit’ as Our Lord says in the Gospel, must include participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. As they fathers of the second Vatican council said: “it is the source and summit of Christian life”. Are we dressed for action?