Monday, July 25, 2005

Contemplata aliis Tradere on "The Value of the Gospel"

Paul Lew of Contemplata aliis Tradere offers a riveting reflection on the value of the Gospel. He notes the irony of a consumerist society obsessed with value that turns away from the one thing of everlasting value. Observe:
There is an irony that in our consumerist world, we place such value on passing trends and fads. Electronic gadgetry, fashion, jewellery etc are all transient, the marketer's racket. Mobile phones which entice us and are seemingly so valuable this week are superceded in months. Even real estate and gold, oil and bonds fail in value. All these things which capitalism values so much, as if they had some kind of intrinsic value are in fact figments of our collective imagination; valueless apart from what we dream up for them and what we are fooled into believing. And we are so thoroughly deluded that we'd do anything to possess these objects of materialist desire, be it the latest iPod or notebook computer or car. In contrast, the Gospel has a perennial, everlasting value, an endless worth which is inherent, Truth that is "more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces" (Ps 119:72). It is a value that is predestined to be ours in Christ for all time (cf Rom 8:28-30).

The tragedy is that this value is not perceived by the masses who are seduced by passing fancies, who actually do the opposite of the psalmist, valuing gold and silver above the Gospel; who give all to attain material splendours and ignore God's Word. All too often, I feel people lapse from the Faith because they have never realised the true value of what they give up; they perceive the Faith as being of little attraction or usefulness in their lives. It is not 'relevant', they say! Why? The First Reading illuminates the situation: He who has not divine wisdom fails to recognise the value of God and His ways. But the person who implores such wisdom from God not only receives "wisdom and understanding" (cf 1 Kgs 3:12), but like Solomon, may well receive also the blessings of riches. So, we actually have to desire to understand God's teachings, as mediated by Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and ask for the Spirit of understanding.
If people understood what the Gospel truly is, they would give everything up to experience the good news. God almighty offers us a relationship with himself! He has sent his Son to dwell among us, suffer and die so that we might become a part of him in a love that never ends. God loves us, in spite of our faults and failings! He calls us into union with himself through Jesus Christ, his Son! We become part of each other as living cells in his Mystical Body, the Church!

How could any of us pass this up? Why would any of us want to?