|18th Sunday in Ordinary Time|
Contributed by: Reverend Patrick Dooling, Parochial Vicar, San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey, CA
Commenting on the terrible shootings in Aurora, Colorado, the president invited people to silently pray. Almost immediately an atheist organization criticized this intrusion of religion into public life. Another government official reporting on the devastating drought in the mid-West said that he prayed daily on his knees for rain. Again, the news reported an angry outburst of atheists, slamming the official for sending 'the wrong message' to farmers regarding this crisis.Though not in every center of learning, schools and universities often feature instructors who seem to delight in denigrating religion and belief in God. Sons and daughters returning from college often surprise their parents because they appear to have lost the faith; what especially irks many parents is that the college or university is supposedly Catholic. Ironically, some state campuses appear to be more friendly to believers: were I a parent concerned about the faith of my offspring, I would be more confident sending them to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo than some 'Catholic' campuses.
One of the most famous atheists in modern history is the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche taught, before his death in 1900, that God is dead. Unlike many atheists today he didn't think that was such good news; he sensed the chaos that would eventuate from such cosmic meaninglessness. And the two world wars that blew up in Europe in the 20th century, giving a stage to such luminaries as Hitler and Stalin, seem to confirm his worst suspicions.
Our Lord says this weekend, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." And this work is not getting any easier in today's cultural climate. Hence, our need for the Eucharist as well as the Word.