Back in the 1970s there was a science fiction movie entitled, THX 1138, directed by George Lucas. It portrays a future world where humanity lives in a subterranean environment which is controlled by mind altering drugs and androids. Human emotions are stifled for the sake of productivity. An interesting feature of the movie is that religion is based in a god which exudes the best of all religions. Elements of being at peace and living in happiness are communicated as the central theme of this religion. The "ministers" of this religion wore monastic-like habits. It suggested a spirituality which would be attractive to all peoples.
As someone who lived in the sixties and seventies I recall the burlap banners and the soft guitar music. There were some good ideas but it only provided for an experience without offering meaning and purpose. Matthew chapter ten suggests the difficulty and challenge of the Gospel. This is something we wold like to gloss over.
In Benedict XVI Easter message, the Holy Father refers to a world which knows hardship and violence first hand. Benedict makes it clear that today the Good News of the Paschal Mystery is necessary to be preached and lived throughout the world. It is interesting how often Christianity is portrayed as being antiquated and out of touch, yet it is the Gospel message is of peace and justice, dignity and respect of life, and freedom, that many in power and authority seem to despise. Saint John Paul the Great said it so well and so often that ours is a culture of death.
We who live with the mystery of the passion, death, and resurrection, are called to be both and tenacious in our proclamation of the Gospel message. After being with my seventh graders this morning, I so much want them to be able to make good, faithful, and live giving decisions all of their days. Sometimes their questions look at religious practice as a compartment of their lives, rather than all that we do must be informed by holiness and truth.
While we might see things like capital sins as being sort of quaint, the reality is that stuff like greed, pride, and lust, have caused great destruction within the human family. The mystery of the resurrection pushes the stone of the tomb away, so that w can see and recognize clearly the life the God offers us.
In high school one of my teachers would ask inactive students, "Are you posing for a holy card." Church life is not all rainbows and burlap banners. Life with Christ has something to do with a journey, cross, bread and wine. In Benedict's words, "Christ...is with us until the end of time. Let us walk behind him in this wounded world singing alleluia."