Friday, August 31, 2007

"You are that Roman"

Recently, all of the children (except the Binkster) came home for a visit. One evening, it was suggested that all of us, adults, children and grandchildren, watch a "hilarious" comedic bit by Rowan Atkinson. In this routine, Atkinson is dressed like a priest and reads a "spoofed up" version of the Gospel story: The Marriage Feast of Cana. And I must say, it was hilarious. We all gathered around and laughed until our sides ached.

After it was over, I walked away and began to have feelings of guilt. Was that a blasphemous presentation? Was I complicit in the comedian's blasphemy? What kind of example was I setting? After all, I am the "Pater Familias" and all that. After a 3 minute wrestle with the matter, I chalked it up to over-scrupulosity, figuring that God probably enjoyed it too.

Things were fine until Sunday morning Mass. After communion, I returned to my pew to begin my typical 45 second meditation. You know the kind: "Thank you , Jesus," for this and "thank you, Jesus," for that. However, the Holy Spirit had other plans. As soon as I closed my eyes, I saw Jesus, wearing a red robe and crown of thorns seated in the midst of a cadre of Roman soldiers, laughing and having a wonderful time. One soldier bowed profoundly before Jesus and mockingly said, " Hail, King of the Jews." His compatriots roared with laughter. But then the Holy Spirit said to me: "You are that Roman!" I wept.. Wept in repentance. This was God...and I was being chastised.

I share this with you because each of us has probably been guilty of this kind of behavior. The culture and our secular milieu encourages us to disparage what is holy. But Jesus is God or He is not. He is to be worshipped and adored or He is not. He is to be lovingly respected in His Divinity or He is not. There is no middle ground. Look how Muslims react when Mohamed is maligned. Why? because he is important to them. And so I ask this challenging question: Is Jesus important to you or, like me, are you that Roman?!