Several years ago, Europe as a whole celebrated its millennium jubilee, tracing its history and acknowledging its roots and origins. It noted its rootedness in the Graeco-Roman culture and civilization. Pope Benedict, then still Cardinal Ratzinger, lobbied that Europe also acknowledged its rootedness in Christianity – to no avail. The Christian roots of Europe were not recognized. Today most of Europe has become a secular society where God has become marginalized. Technology and science are the new gods that people worship and money their new sacrament. The Cartesian doubt has become critical thinking. All too often critical thinking degenerates into cynicism. Cynicism becomes apathy. Apathy breeds boredom, anxiety, despair, depression and untimely meaninglessness. Philosophers in Europe have been writing about this modern malaise that is characterized by angst and ennui. The philosophy and the theater of the absurd has been their statement.
It is uncanny how today Pope Francis has challenged us to seek God in the peripheries. There are many whom like God have been marginalized by science and technology because they have no access to the modern day sacrament of money. Globalization is a modern secular initiative that is supposed to provide access to economic prosperity for everyone. When the globe becomes one big market, the prosperity will eventually trickle down to everyone, even the poorest of the poor. Technocrats even designed safety nets to catch those who would be falling by the way side. But trickle-down economics has not worked. The rich have only become richer and the poor have become poorer, the gap between them even greater than ever. Pope Francis has started calling for a legitimate re-distribution of the world’s wealth.
In contrast, those who believe in Christ, those whom He has called to His own, are an Easter people living in hope. Plenitude and wealth are good but we must also realize that it is in our emptiness and inadequacies that we discover the true fullness of life. It is not in the possession and amassing of things that we find our security but in giving to one another that we are all saved together. It is not right for one man to die for the sake of the whole nation but every nation should be willing to save even just one member who is need or in danger.
This is the deep message of Easter. It is the root of my enduring hope. We are an Easter people.
The Lord takes delight in his people.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.”