Length, Meaning & Direction
Today’s long Gospel reading reminds us that Christianity is not about speed, short-cuts or anesthesia. In truth, it is about length, pain and suffering.
We now live in a world where pain and waiting are to be avoided at all cost. We have acquired a mentality that has a very low tolerance for anything that involves length, mistakes and suffering. Our waiting has been reduced by super-fast procedures: superfast computers, automatic teller machines, fast food, instant messages, instant coffee and instant marriages. Our threshold for pain and suffering has been minimized by so-called miracles of medical science and technology: Advil, tylenol forte, abortion pill and mercy-killing.
Even our relationships have been adversely affected by what we call a “computer” mentality which rejects human error and waiting time. Such mentality disposes us to seek quick solutions to long-term problems, especially in marriage and family life. We have developed a passion for painlessness and velocity. And we have lost our sense of direction and meaning.
Long time ago, Chase & Sanborn, a coffee company, ran an advertisement which read “Happiness does not come in an instant!” Of course, we know that the difference between brewed coffee and instant coffee is the quality that comes with the process.
Besides being person-oriented, Christian life is process-oriented. Resurrection comes only after passion and death. Christianity does not take away our problems and fears. It gives us the strength to face and endure them. It gives us a sense of Christian purpose and meaning. It makes us understand the meaning of our struggle for sanity.
Our life can be short and quick. But it has to have direction and meaning. Let us re-learn our sense of Christian purpose, which is rooted in the mysteries we celebrate these days. Life in the fast lane requires a consciousness of our Christian sense of direction. We have to hold on together with our Christian vision, if we don’t want to lose our way in this maze of quick fixes.