2nd Sunday of Lent
March 04, 2012
Are You Crazy?
A small kingdom was ruled by a great king. All his subjects were happy and contented. In that kingdom there was only one source of drinking water: the open well in front of the palace. Everybody drinks from that well. One night, while everybody was asleep, an evil witch came and cast a spell on the well so that anyone who drinks water from it will become crazy. The next morning, as usual, everybody, except the king, drank water from the well. Everybody became crazy. When the king woke up, he looked out the window. He was surprised to see all his subjects acting funny. But what really surprised him most was that, when they saw him, everybody laughed at him, and they all shouted: “The king is crazy!”
This scenario has been repeated time and again in the Scriptures. Noah, for example, was ridiculed by the people for building an ark and warning them about the great flood. All the prophets, in fact, were killed because they acted differently from the rest. Jesus himself suffered the same fate. He came preaching about love, forgiveness and mercy. He did miraculous cures out of pity for the sick and the suffering. But his own people of Nazareth rejected him, and his relatives said: “He is out of his mind.” In the end, the people for whom he came to save shouted with one voice: “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
One of the greatest dangers of our time is the political principle “Majority rules.” However, we should be warned that the majority is not always right. Jesus was condemned to die by the decision of the majority. In many democratic elections, the majority voted into office unworthy public servants. The majority has been proven wrong on many occasions. But since it is the majority, it carries a lot of influence and pressure on the rest of the population, especially when it is backed up by the powerful mass media of communication.
And this is what is happening now. Gradually, people begin to change their beliefs and moral principles simply due to the prevailing mood and opinion of the majority. What used to be called killing an unborn baby is now called right of choice. What used to be perversion is now called creative self-expression. What used to be called homosexual union is now called meaningful relationship. What used to be called chastity is now called neurotic inhibitions. What used to be called modesty is now called psychological hang-up. What used to be called self-mastery or self- control is now called unhealthy repression. What used to be wrong and immoral is now being justified and even considered acceptable. And those who insist to stick to the truth and do not want to join the bandwagon of moral decay are branded as crazy, out of their minds, ignorant, outdated, and many other nasty adjectives they can think of.
But the truth does not depend on the decision of the majority. It is not a matter of personal taste or opinion, or a result of a survey. In Epistemology, a branch of Philosophy, truth is defined as the conformity of what is in the mind with the external object being perceived. There is truth, not because the majority of the people said so, but because the object is perceived by the mind as it truly is. Even if all people will say that the four-legged creature is an elephant, when in fact it is a dog, what they say cannot make a dog an elephant. The same is true with morality. Something intrinsically evil cannot become good just because people say it is good. Abortion is murder, and it is evil. It cannot become something good because many people are doing it, or because it is declared legal by an act of Congress.
My brothers and sisters, where do we find the source of truth? It cannot be found in the majority. It can only be found in God, for He is the Absolute Truth. He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. As Jesus declared, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The example of Abraham in the first reading should inspire us to obey God to the point of total sacrifice. The words of St. Paul in the second reading should give us hope and strength when we are faced with oppositions and persecutions: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Let us not fear being ostracized by the world and be called crazy, as long as we are on the side of God. Let the words, then, of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles be our constant guiding principle: “Better for us to obey God rather than men.”
On this second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel is about the Transfiguration of our Lord. In the presence of the disciples Peter, James and John, Jesus changed in appearance. His face became bright as the sun and his clothes turned dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared conversing with him. And the voice of the Father was heard from the cloud: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” This very brief but supremely profound experience convinced the disciples that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of God. Later, when they themselves were persecuted, they readily chose death rather than deny Christ. Indeed, they followed the instruction of the heavenly Father: “Listen to him!”
As we again gather together in this sacred celebration, we express our belief in the truth that Jesus is God, the true Messiah, our only Savior. There is no question about that in our minds. But the question we have to ask ourselves is, “If Jesus is the Truth, do we truly listen to him?” If it is Jesus we listen to, then why do some of us question his teachings? Why do we still believe in horoscopes, feng shui, fortune telling and superstitions? Why do we continue to entertain those highly immoral issues such as abortion, assisted suicide, divorce, same sex marriages, live-in relationships?
During this season of Lent, may the words of the heavenly Father continually ring in our minds and hearts: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” And may the words of Jesus transform us and lead us to our conversion and personal transfiguration so that we begin to live as true children of God.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Sta. Lucia Church
J.P. Rizal Street, Bgy. Sta. Lucia
Novaliches, Quezon City 1117