Jesus challenged their motivation for following Him and invited them to a deeper faith. Likewise, Jesus invites us to a deeper faith. But why do so many choose not to follow Him? Even among people who claim Catholicism as their religion, only about 30% attend Mass on a weekly basis. In places like New York City this number has dropped to about 11 or 12%. In parts of Europe it is down to 5%. Why do so many choose to ignore Christ and His Church?
For those who are sitting in the pews, why are you present? What motivates you to participate on a weekly basis? Is it a good way to network with others to increase potential business for your company? Is it to establish certain political connections that may prove to be beneficial? Is it to heighten your social status among your peers because it looks good to be a practicing member of a church community. Or is it because of your desire to have a deeper relationship with God? Are you motivated by love?
It is important for us to reflect upon our motivations for doing things. Socrates is credited with saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Why is it relevant for us to examine our interior dispositions? Quite simply, if we do not examine our lives we can be swayed by every wind that blows. If our conscience is not formed correctly we can easily go astray and fall into sin. If we allow the secular media to be the main thrust of our moral formation we are in for a world of hurt.
What did the mainstream media outlets tell us this week in regard to the important issues of the day? According to Media Research the three national channels of ABC, CBS, and NBC chose to cover the death of Cecil the Lion for over 30 minutes while Planned Parenthood's dissection of babies and the negotiation of prices for selling the body parts only received 11 minutes of coverage. This could easily give us the impression that the death of Cecil the Lion was more important than the 56 million babies killed by abortion. Cecil's death was more important than the marketing and selling of the viable parts of human babies. Please note--these parts were intentionally preserved during the murderous procedure to procure those parts. How can we as a civilized society condone such behavior?
Do you want to take the coverage away from death--either human or animal? Okay, how important is a deflated football in the big scheme of life? Obviously, it is HUGE! Look at the media coverage.
Thus, if our interior life is formed by what we watch on the major TV News networks, we are going to be ill-equipped for the spiritual warfare that confronts us on a daily basis. Make no mistake. We are engaged in spiritual warfare. You will be persecuted for your beliefs if you are a faithful witness to Jesus Christ. That is okay. Remember, they persecuted Christ first.
John's Gospel reminds us that we are nourished for the battle as we receive the Bread of Life. We enter into the Eucharistic Liturgy and are nurtured by the proclamation of God's Sacred Word. We encounter Eternal Truth in the Sacred Scriptures! Then we are fed and nourished with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. We are fully equipped for mission because of God's grace, mercy, and power!