Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Joking aside …
Father Ignatius was watching a comedian on TV. He was mildly amusing at first, and then suddenly, his jokes turned to religion.
Now Father Ignatius usually turns off the TV, or switches to another channel, when people ridicule Christianity. This time, however, that inner voice within asked him to hang on a minute.
The comedian was talking about prayer. He said that some people ignore “that nice bearded man in the sky” most of their lives and turn to Him screaming for help when things go wrong.
The audience laughed.
Father Ignatius wondered whether they were laughing at the description of God, or the fact that some people ignore Him until disaster strikes in their lives.
The comedian went on with another limp joke about how people pray.
“Some get down on bended knees and repeat the same prayers over and again like parrots; praying the Rosary for instance.”
The comedian imagined God sitting on His throne dividing people into categories. All those who prayed repeated prayers He put on one side. Those praying the Rosary He gathered all together, and then, through His omnipotent ability to control time, He would synchronize them all so that they recited the Rosary in unison.
The audience reacted by laughing inanely in harmony.
Father Ignatius got up to switch off the TV.
At that point the comedian had changed the subject to the Eucharist and what Christians believed.
With the TV safely off Father Ignatius sat down again and pondered.
“What a sad state of affairs we’ve come to,” he thought, “when a comedian has to mock Christianity for a living; and he finds a ready audience reacting to his every joke.
“If a member of that audience was a Christian, it would prove very difficult indeed, if not impossible, to stand up and protest.
“That person would himself become the object of ridicule and provide ample material for the comedian to continue his act.
“And why should the TV Company even wish to broadcast such material knowing full well that it would offend someone watching at home.”
Father Ignatius reflected on what the comedian had said about prayer; which as it happened was the subject of the priest’s sermon that coming Sunday.
“Of course God does not need our prayers,” he thought.
“He does not need them in the sense that He is not in any way diminished or left wanting if we did not pray.
“But like any loving parent He is happy when we keep in contact. He likes to hear from us from time to time. When we ask Him for our needs.
“He likes us to tell Him how we feel from day to day. To share our worries and concerns, or our troubles when the road ahead is somewhat difficult.
“He also likes to hear about our joys and moments of happiness when things are right.
“The odd ‘Thank you’ every now and then would not go amiss either!”
Father Ignatius jotted a few notes down in his little book.
“And of course,” thought the priest to himself, “praying to God means listening to Him as well as speaking to Him. It is after all a two-way conversation.”
As for repetitive prayers … that comedian may well poke fun at them, but Father Ignatius saw nothing wrong.
He did after all pray the Rosary daily, sometimes more than once a day.
“It helps me concentrate and focus on God,” he said to himself, “… and as everyone knows, men are not good at multi-tasking. So reciting the Rosary helps focus my mind!” he chuckled.
Yes, all in all, that comedian gave him a lot of material for his sermon on Sunday.
As for mocking God and Jesus, “there’s nothing new there” thought the priest.
“Jesus was mocked and laughed at many times throughout His Mission on earth and during His arrest, trial and Crucifixion.
“He took all the hatred and ridicule with Him on the Cross.
“A few jokes from a TV comedian would not harm The Almighty at all; and could perhaps lead someone to experience the love of Christ by just prompting him to learn more.
“The certainty, however, is that the comedian would be reminded of these jokes when he’s face to face with his Creator.”
Father Ignatius smiled.