There is a great tendency today for people to do things for show or to make a good impression; not because it is the right thing to do. A popular expression is “What you see is what you get ~ nothing less but also nothing more.” There is no going the extra mile. There is no doing good. In fact, sometimes doing bad is perverted and portrayed as something good. Selfishness and greed are extolled as enlightened self-interest. Aggressiveness and anger are extolled as assertiveness. Pride and arrogance are extolled as a healthy self-image. Gluttony and hedonism are extolled as the good life.
This personality ethic is very shallow and superficial. The good things that people have done comes from something deeper in the character. It goes much deeper and comes from something stronger from within us. And this is the part of us that Christ speaks to when he challenges us to follow him.
Following Jesus often sounds foolish and foolhardy in the face of the self-serving pragmatism of the world. And yet, his way seems to me the only way the world can save itself from self-destruction.
The world has never been so much material goods as in the present times; and yet there are billions who survive on less than a dollar day. Who will feed the hungry, clothe the naked and welcome the homeless? Not the bankers nor traders in Wall street for sure but those who respond and resonate with the call of Jesus for love and generosity.
There has never been a more interconnected world than the one we live in now; and yet we are kept apart from one another by so much anger, hatred, violence and the desire for revenge and retribution. Who will stop the cycle of violence so that we can live in peace and harmony? Not world leaders who foment the anger and hatred among their own people but those who listen and follow the call of Jesus for love and forgiveness.
The world has never experienced so much material comforts and luxuries as today; and yet there has never been as much pain, anguish and suffering in the world. Who will ease the pain and bind the wounds to make us whole and holy again? Not those who wallow in comfort or luxury but those who take up their cross daily to live simple lives dedicated to serving and loving others.