2017 is the new 1970 or maybe a 1970's Redux? I am starting to feel like I should put on a Leisure Suit and head out to the disco. The elementary school I attended was a brand new building and included a Fall-out shelter, to which we dutifully were marched to prepare for the inevitable nuclear bomb that Russia was going to drop. By the late 70's when Ronald Regan was running for president I remember hearing that it would be extremely dangerous to give such an unstable person the codes to the nuclear arsenal. I voted for Carter just to be safe.
By the 70's most of us were sure at some point Armageddon would be upon us. All this is to say that many of us grew up having it drilled into our heads, usually by fear that Russia was enemy number one and we should all be afraid, very afraid. Fast-forward about 40yrs and it's almost as if the last 40yrs didn't occur: no Détente, nor fall of the Berlin Wall, no rising of the Iron Curtain, once again Russia is a geopolitical time-bomb. What's going on?
One of the other darlings of the 1970's was Paul Ehrlich, whose 1968 book "The Population Bomb", had us eating each other by the year 2000 unless we drastically reduced the human population of earth, using compulsory population control laws, forced abortion, euthanasia, birth control, and forced sterilization. He was recently invited to speak at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Science and Social Sciences Conference on "Biological Extinction". Once again the 1970's rises from the dead. What's going on?
There is also the matter of Russian propaganda being used to influence the past election. And then the issue of who's eavesdropping on whom? It's sort of like us watching you, watching us, watching you. Hard to keep straight actually. Accusations of a President spying on a political campaign shows that the spirit of Richard Nixon emerged from the tomb of Watergate! What's going on?
What I find confusing is that the same people who barely uttered a peep when Russia annexed Crimea and started messing with Ukraine now insist that Russia be punished severely for possibly interfering in our democratic election and if you disagree with basically bringing us to the edge of nuclear war with Russia alla the 70's, then you must be in collusion with Russia. All of the sudden Putin has become omniscient and Trump is the Manchurian candidate. What's going on?
If you are hearing Marvin Gaye singing:
Father, father, We don't need to escalate You see, war is not the answer, For only love can conquer hate, You know we've got to find a way, To bring some lovin' here today, oh what's going on, ya what's going on, hey what's going on, then maybe it is as Yogi Berra often said, "it is déjà vu all over again".
Or maybe it's more like the film "Groundhog Day"; we get to do the 1970's all over again until we get it right. Fortunate for us that we find ourselves in the season of Lent: the original "Do-Over" season. Whatever is going on, we at least have a chance to remake ourselves according to the image of Jesus Christ. Whatever Lenten practices you have committed to, continue to do them no matter how feeble or how many times you mess it up and need to start over again. The good news is that God is always giving us second chances at least on this side of eternity. So don't give up, don't give in.
Our Ash Wednesday Opening Prayer at Mass sets the tone for the whole of Lent whether it's 1977 or 2017:
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Whatever is going on in the world we can find the answer in Jesus Christ and imitating His obedience to the Father's Will.
So what's going on? Well in a word: Lent!
Love, Fr. John B.
P.S. Please keep in your prayers our Catechumens and Candidates who are preparing for the Easter Sacraments as they complete the most intense part of their journey to Christ.BACK TO LIST