Mar 5, 2012

Gospel to Life

John Paul II more than a decade ago coined the phrase "Cafeteria Catholics" using that phrase to create the mental picture of Catholics looking over the teachings of the Church while picking and choosing what they agreed with and ignoring what they didn't like, all at the same time convinced that they were following the Faith.

St Peter is Walking on the Water 
We are seeing more and more the rise of the "Cultural Christian" (both Catholic and Protestant) in this country. The "Cafeteria choices" have driven many to water down Christian beliefs, practices, and sensitivities. This is allowing the secularism that is around us to creep in. We are all affected it seems, for example, Europe the center of Western Christianity, is hardly recognizable as a Christian place to live. Unfortunately, our country is not far behind. Attitudes toward abortion, euthanasia, sex and questionable entertainment are examples of this. Satan has presented our society with many false gods.

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a devout Christian friend of mine. We were commenting on the  passivity of so many Christians in the USA and around the world and wondered what has caused the culture to drift into such a state that many don't even care? Looking at the way people live and the choices being made, often it is difficult to see a difference between those claiming to be Christians and those who are atheists.

My friend paused and reflected as he developed a thought. He smiled and said he would like to remind me of a well known bible story. He said it was the story of Jesus walking on the water (Mt 14: 22-33). As the wind caused the waves to increase the apostles became wary. They looked out over the water and saw Jesus walking toward them! Peter was the first to call out to Him, and the Lord bid him come to Him. Imagine the thoughts running through the heads of the others as Peter, with waves crashing over the boat, stood up and began to get out of the boat!

He was focused on Jesus and forgot about the wind, the high seas, and began to walk on the water toward the Lord. The others must have said "what are you doing, Peter?". They realized he was walking on the water! Amazed, they may have begun to cheer him on. Then with all of this going on from those in the boat, Peter lost focus on Jesus and began to sink but, Jesus reached out and saved him from drowning.

I said to my friend "So, what does this have to do with why Christians have become so passive to Jesus' call?". He said, "With the wind of secularism howling, it's more difficult to hear His calling. But when we hear it we can't answer the call to Christian life if we are hunkered down in the boat. When Jesus calls us we have to be willing to get out of the boat, focus on Him, and trust that He will keep us safe.

What great advice for what we are facing daily these days! POC. Bob, OFS