Third Sunday of Lent

The world is worldly. But being worldly isn’t as exciting as it was. For the majority of people life is routine.

Even when life is driven by faithful love or a quest for truth or a passionate cause, no one can escape the humdrum. So, we escape a world that is repetititious and unchallenging by becoming voyeurs of the dramatic and sublime. We watch sport, action movies, hyper dramatic soaps. And we love royal weddings and papal funerals.

Modern life with its accent on health and safety, is paranoid about risk. It tries to make people and work-teams run like computer programs. The media feeds on the domestic secrets of celebrities. Life is disenchanted. Something magical has gone. We have secularized, analyzed and demythologized what used to enchant. Only the vast interstellar spaces or the mystery of dark matter are left.

Yet so much of the enchantment was misinterpretation or self-deception. As the Oscars and celebrity still are. Robbie Williams recently admitted what perhaps his fans didn’t want to hear, that his stage self is a totally false construct.

Then a Pope resigns and the disenchantment seems complete. The chain of power upheld by the office’s mystique is rattled dangerously. What happens to infallibility if you can resign it? What about our own inner weakest link? 

But is there something genuinely enchanting revealed in such self-disempowerment? Something extraordinary in the simple acceptance of being human. Something that the Easter story passionately conveys. Something that does not need makeup or special effects. 

A way of being in the world that rejects showiness and celebrity, wealth, power or mystique. Something glorious and authentically affirming in our nature that breaks the heart open as no soap opera can. A burning bush we encounter on the way to work that, however long we contemplate it, never dies.


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