John Connelly


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 21, 2014
Isaiah 55.6-9 | Psalm 145 | Philippians 1.20-24, 27 | Matthew 20.1-16
September 8, 2014

One truth is inescapable: We will all face reality in the end. Whatever we have made of our lives will be known.

As human beings we can deny reality but we cannot escape it. Reality is not something we make up or produce on our own.

The idea that we create our own reality is taught and lived by many in our world today. It is the heresy of relativism. Pope Benedict declared it as the biggest challenge facing the Church today.

The idea that we create our own reality is poisoning the world. It is proclaimed by self-help gurus, fed to us in movies and television, and believed by millions. Its effects surround us. Its lies are swallowed by the masses without question.

My ways are higher than your ways. – Isaiah 55.9

'My ways are higher than your ways.'

Isaiah 55.9

We hear it in phrases like, "You have your reality and I have mine;" "Do your own thing;" "Live your own dreams."

A heresy is partly true, but it never tells the whole story. God is the only source of ultimate reality.

History is littered with the sad stories of people and ideologies that defined reality wrongly and reaped incredible destruction. Hitler. Stalin. Communism. A woman's right to choose. God is dead. The list goes on.

Dispose of the foolish notion that you have your reality and I have mine. Jesus defines reality because he is reality. He does not merely offer an opinion. He did not come to teach us to live our dreams apart from God. He came to save us from the delusion of sin.

The definition of insanity is departure from reality. Behold a culture all around us that is discarding reality. Behold the destruction relativism is wreaking on this world. An epic tragedy is unfolding all around us. A matrix of lies.

I was saddened to hear of the suicide of the accomplished actor and comedian Robin Williams. Listen to his own words: "It's not a muse that drives you on. It's a demon." He spoke these words in an interview and was referring to himself.

Williams brought laughter to others, while inside he often experienced profound pain. There is no ultimate fulfillment and happiness apart from intimacy with God. No amount of fame, drugs or other substitutes can change this fact.

We pray Robin Williams found the mercy and love he sought. But he offers us a lesson worth remembering – outward success is no substitute for the peace that only God can give.

In this week's reading from the prophet Isaiah, God speaks to those who place their own thoughts above his: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts" (55.9).

So let us examine our thinking. Ask Jesus for the gift that combats relativism – wisdom.

Come Spirit of Jesus. Give us the wisdom we need to see and enter into the reality that sets us free. Amen.