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.

7 comments:

  1. Doesn't it make you want to cry when people mock God! I have cried over it...
    My hubby and I travelled around Oz in a caravan.
    One morning while getting dressed to take off yet again it was strongly reinforced in me to pray the Lords Prayer...I love that one yet usually just worship and pray from the heart. Well..when I got to the part, "But deliver us from evil.." I stopped and repeated it over and over... then I realised God had me do this for some reason.
    Yes later that day we missed a sign on the road which said NO CARAVANS, BUSES OR TRUCKS PAST THIS POINT! We came down a steep winding narrow mountain road. Both of us there terrified and were sure we'd go over the edge...But Our Lord protected. When we finally arrived safely at the bottom, I remembered my prayer that morning. God IS...indeed..the lover of our souls. I love Him so much, none can compare.
    God bless you this day Victor.

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  2. Thank you Crystal Mary for this story. The Lord does indeed often protect us from many dangers without us even knowing about it.

    God bless you and yours.

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  3. I love your subtle humor, Victor! I laughed when I read the line about the TV audience laughing inanely in harmony after the comedian joked about the people praying the Rosary in harmony.

    But it's not funny the way people make fun of Christianity. I see that more than I want to, especially on late night TV.

    The scripture I pray the most is Psalm 139. I never get tired of praying that chapter, and it never feels rote to me. I pray that passage over myself and my family members by name.

    P.S. I laughed out loud when I read your latest comment on my blog... that the THOUGHT of cutting onions can make you cry. Ha!

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  4. Hello Sarah,

    Sadly here in the UK it is not just on late night TV that Christianity is mocked. It could be at any time and not necessarily a comedy programme. It could be a discussion about anything, music or general events or whatever and someone would say something derogatory about Christianity. For example they could mention a well known Christian celebrity and chuckle at the fact that he is a Christian.

    Thank you Sarah for visiting me again. God bless.

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  5. Appreciate Father Ignatius' comments about prayer. When people mock God it is painful.

    Yet, part of the draw about comedians is that they speak of something we know. That comedian's opening comments about how one can have such a tiny concept of God, yet still run to Him when trouble comes (where else is there to go?) is very prevalent. People laughed because they related to doing that very thing. Somehow, my goal is that the people in my life, those people who regularly interact with me, would see something very different in me. The hard times come my way just like everyone else, but I hope that the people in my life can see that the God Who I've been giving thanks to through all the good times, is there sustaining me and giving me peace & joy in the midst of the tough times.

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  6. Hi Tracy,

    Yes, we all have difficulties from time to time in our lives and it is so comforting to know that, as a loving Father, God is there for us.

    God bless.

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  7. I felt like standing up and giving that comedian a piece of my mind (until I reminded myself I was reading one of your posts)

    So instead, I will pray for all of those that have separated from God. Hopefully they will be able to look back someday, and laugh at themselves from the warm embrace of our Savior's love.

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I PRAY FOR ALL WHO COMMENT HERE.

God bless you.

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