Free or not?
We are living in perilous and strange times in America. I cannot remember a time like this during my lifetime. Granted, I’m not that old but I’m closing in on 50 and this is the weirdest I’ve seen things.
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what is going on in this country. It feels like the collective intellect of our society has vanished. We have somehow lost the ability to think critically for ourselves. Our freedoms are being eroded daily and, as a society at large, we are not only laying down for this nonsense, but we seem to be embracing it.
Let me give you two examples.
There is no more freedom of speech. I really don’t care what you say to me; I see this every day and so do you. Oh, you may not want to admit it to yourself, but you no longer enjoy freedom of speech. Case in point, this infamous video posted over the last few days by Breitbart. It’s been shared all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all kinds of social media (for the record, I’m not a fan of Breitbart, nor am I republican or democrat).
And it was promptly removed by said social media platforms tout de suite.
Why is that? Have you asked yourself that?
Let me just quickly say this. My whole family took chloroquine as a prophylactic against malaria and various other diseases during the time we lived on the African continent during the mid-80s and early 90s. None of us had any problems with it. When administered properly, it seemed then and seems quite safe now. I know other missionary personnel who took it and have reported slightly different things and that’s okay. I’m just speaking for myself. It was a medication that was well tolerated by me and my family.
But I’m not here to talk about hydroxychloroquine. I mean, don’t get me wrong; if it will stop the spread of COVID-19, then I say give it out freely!
But what I’m concerned about in all this is this little thing called free speech. To live in a free society, people should be allowed to say whatever they damn well please. Let me say that again for all the people in the back and the fascists out there, both left and right.
To live in a free society, you should be free to say whatever you like.
That doesn’t mean that everyone must like it or agree with it or listen to it. In fact, one could say that if someone doesn’t disagree or dislike it, it’s probably not free speech. Our opinions on various topics may be very different. We may have people among us who even say mean and hateful things.
But again I say, to live in a free society, you should be free to say whatever you like.
It really doesn’t matter if it is offensive or foul or even true. It only matters, in a free society, that you are free to say whatever you like. If we are not free to say whatever we like, we are not free. So, to go back to your example; if you disagree with those doctors, okay. Great; feel free to ignore them. If you agree with those doctors, okay. Great; feel free to share their message.
The point is freedom of speech. Why censor someone’s opinion? Let them speak and let the people decide what they want to believe.
My second example is this whole mask wearing thing. Now I know that, as soon as I said that, some of you were triggered and now you’re gonna be all mad and rage at me. This only proves my first point. You are free to keep reading or you are free to stop reading. You are free to agree with me or you are free to disagree with me.
I really don’t care one way or the other.
Okay, back to the mask issue. Americans have been told various things regarding the efficacy of masks. Depending on whom it is that you listen to will largely determine where you fall on this issue. I really don’t care.
Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. You do you.
Here’s my point. You should be free; we should be free to make our own decisions. Here’s a simple proposal for all the government officials that have overstepped the boundaries. Why don’t you just present all sides, ALL sides, of the arguments for and against mask wearing? Once you’ve done that, I’d love for you to do something radical.
Let the people decide for themselves.
We’re really not stupid, ya know. Well, some of us are but I digress…
We desire freedom and well we should.
We should be free to speak and be heard and ignored if that is what is chosen.
We should be free to decide for ourselves issues that involve our own health.
We don’t need some dude in a suit in Washington or, in my case, in Indianapolis, to tell us how to best care for our health. We certainly don’t need some kid who runs a social media platform telling us what types of media we can and cannot consume.
We should be free.
It’s called the Constitution. Google it. Or don’t.
You are free to choose.
Or at least, you should be.
The promise of the Sower
My family and I live close to St. Meinrad Archabbey and, this morning, we attended Mass at the Archabbey church. Albeit virtually (which is a whole ‘nother subject but don’t get me started) but we were there.
The thick and weighty silence that punctuates the parts of the Mass at the Archabbey, the chanting of the Psalter, the quiet shuffling of the monk’s feet, the architecture, the solemn joy with which the monks sing…so beautiful; it feeds my soul and brings tears to my eyes each and every time.
I don’t know the monk who preached the homily but it was outstanding and I wanted to talk about it for a bit. The gospel reading for today is Matthew 13:1-23. Go and read that before you proceed.
This is the parable of the seed and the sower. I want to tell you right out of the gate that my thoughts on this are not entirely my own. The monk who preached the homily did the exegetical work (and it was outstanding) and his words I will basically echo here, with a few of my own additions.
If you’re like me you’ve probably heard this text preached a few times. Every time I’ve heard it preached, the focus was always on the soil. Usually, the preacher would draw some application about being the right kind of soil. But the brother that preached this morning did something brilliant with this parable and it needs to be heard.
His focus in the parable was not on the soil. Rather, it was on the opposition to the seed. Look at the text and you’ll see it. See it in your mind and heart.
Hungry, squawking birds (I always picture crows) gobbling up the seed.
Rocky, flinty soil that seems to almost be “bullet proof” as the seed literally bounces off the hard, cracked surface.
Scorching sun that blasts things to powder under its relentless gaze.
Spiny thorns literally choking the life out of the tender shoots that bloom.
Do you see it?
The sower and the seed are opposed. It’s a powerful image, isn’t it?
Kinda reminds me of the world we live in today. Make no mistake, friends, the Sower and His seed are under assault and open opposition. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His person are openly opposed by the current culture in which we find ourselves. The Church is under open and naked attack by our great enemy and those who are under his control.
The Sower and His seed are opposed.
In the face of the world and the darkness that seems to grow on a moment by moment basis, what are we to do? We who are the Church, we the seed sown by the master Sower. What are we to do? Do we take up arms? Do we retreat from the squawking and ravenous enemies of the Light? Do we beg for rain that this dry and hot sun of opposition would be banished from the Earth? How can we fight against the thorns that seem to choke the life out of us?
I submit to you for this answer our Old Testament reading for today. Our master Sower speaks in Isaiah 55:10-11,
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I intend, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
We who are the seed of the Sower of the Word, look and listen and take heart! Look at the promise of God! He has promised. The Sower has spoken. His seed will bring forth sprouts and bread to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! His Word will not return to Him empty. His Word shall accomplish all that He intends! His Word shall prosper in the thing for which He sent it!
In the face of a decaying society and blazing heat of the opposition of the enemy, do not despair beloved!
Hope in Christ!
His Word shall not fail!
His Word shall not fail!
His Word shall not fail!