(August 18, 2019 Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Fr. Matt’s Corner: . . . and how I wish it were already blazing!. . .
Greetings to you, my dear friends in Christ. During my travels this summer, I’ve encountered many strangely wonderful people (as one would expect), and I have seen many odd sights – including a bumper sticker that says cryptically: ‘coexist’.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that simple word; neither is there anything interesting about it. However, there are at least 2 serious problems with this particular bumper sticker and its implicit message.
First, it is loaded with various symbols of things that cannot in principle coexist. Two of these can perhaps coexist: the ‘t’ in the word is a cross (symbolizing, of course, Christianity); while the ‘x’ is shown as the Star of David (representing Judaism). As for the other symbols, it is my hope that none of them would be particularly familiar to you. I will not mention any here, but suffice it to say that they are various symbols of the unholy – such as Wicca, Free Masonry, and other satanic influences.
I will say this very clearly: there can be no peace between the Lord Jesus Christ and Satan and his minions. That’s why Jesus said: Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. Any wishing for peaceful ‘coexistence’ between Christ and anti-Christ is not only foolish, but deadly. Do not be fooled into accepting New Age, witchcraft, free masonry, and devilry as either harmless or healthy. Rather, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. That’s the first problem with these ‘coexist’ bumper stickers.
The second is simply that the ideal of coexistence is too … well … bland. As such, it’s un-Christian. Jesus and the Truth of the Catholic faith is anything but bland. It’s radical, exciting, and dangerous – as dangerous as life! Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! Mere coexistence and tolerance are not virtues. Jesus never said: “Tolerate one another as I have tolerated you.”
Why? Because tolerance is NOT LOVE – in fact, tolerance is very nearly the opposite of love. Tolerance cares nothing about the other person – it treats the person as a thing (an object) – to be tolerated. If I came up and said to someone: “I tolerate you,” that would be a very different thing than saying, “I love you.” Yes, love is a very different thing indeed. Tolerance is focused not on people, but on ideas. There are many ideas that must not be tolerated; but every person must be loved. So, let us not coexist! Rather, let us love – with the blazing love of Jesus Himself.
Peace to all of you, my friends, this Holy Day, and to all who love the Lord in simplicity of heart,