THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: By Canon Gerry Conroy

We all want life to get back to normal as quickly as possible. And although it isn’t easy, we listen to the experts, we listen to the government who are setting out the way they think is best to get society fully functioning again as quickly as possible. We may not always agree with their decisions, we may have different priorities from them and that is going to cause some friction and frustration. Who knows exactly what is the best way to go forward? We will just have to go forward and see because we don’t know for sure and the experts are still discussing what lies in the future.

This uncertainty about how best to confront the problems of our life and get to the best future for us, is something we confront on a daily basis. It’s just that usually the situation isn’t quite so stark. But I could not help but think of the story of Noah as dealing with a similar dilemma. That story is really about how to deal with the problem of evil in the world. Destruction by God of what is evil, what is imperfect is presented to us as being the least perfect option, but it is a problem that we are still struggling with. For example, some people think that crime is the result of social inequalities, or lack of a decent education and the way to eradicate it is to eradicate injustice and inequality and provide a good education to everyone. These are noble ideas, but they have in common that the problem is outside people and rooted in an unjust society or that once people know what is right they will choose it. Life shows us that such is not the case. People know the damage that drugs can do, but they still choose them. People with money and power are just as likely to commit crime as those who are disadvantaged. The problem is not simply outside us but also within us, yet we are constantly told by our society that our instincts and feelings are pure and natural and good. After all how could something that feels so right be so wrong?

Christ’s call to repent came after his time in the desert. After this time we have spent dealing with the pandemic, like Christ in the desert, we know that having faced such a crisis, your heart is revealed to you and you face life with a changed vision. Christ’s call is not new; it is not unique and like so many others before him and after him it has fallen on deaf ears and stubborn hearts. Each year we hear it as we begin Lent; this call to examine our life and our choices in the light of God’s Kingdom rather than simply in terms of our desires and feelings. It is the appearance of God’s Kingdom that is new. Christ’s is a call to look beyond a simple concern for our bodies and desire for more of the unimportant and unnecessary things of life, to look beyond those desires we think sum up who we are and opt instead for a different perspective of what life is about and how we should live it. It is a call to judge things in the light of the Kingdom of God. Lent is a call that tells us if we want change, if we want to wipe out evil from our world, then it must begin with ourselves. It must be about an ongoing change in us: a choice for something better even as we live in a world that is imperfect. It is a choice to believe and to hope and to love as Christ taught us, no matter the cost.

Canon Conroy is parish priest of St Patrick’s, Dumbarton

Leave a Reply