Beyond Thunderdome

12-09-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The passing of President George H.W. Bush reminded me that there was a time before we all entered “Trump World”, a day before “Obama-in-the-Highest” worship took hold, even a period before Bush 2.0 and war-without-end, amen! became the norm, a world without the “blue dress” and Clinton & Clinton and Clinton redux. As I accurately foresaw in my March 6, 2016 pre-election prophecy, we have entered the world of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. A place where “two men enter, one man leaves”. You remember November 2016, Dr. Dealgood won, Aunty Entity lost. Still, Aunty Entity cries ceaselessly: “You think I don't know the law? Wasn't it me who wrote it? And I say that this man has broken the law. Right or wrong, we had a deal”. The 24-hour cable news, social media cycles demands nothing less than the death of your political opponent and even then, the corpse must be dragged through the streets.

Back then, Presidents were just presidents. We looked at what they said and did, but we didn't stare. Now all eyes are transfixed on every utterance, every tweet and every handshake. Even the time before Pope John Paul II, Popes were just popes. Since then we have celebrity Pontiffs. Who really cared where Paul VI lived? Or what John XXIII had for breakfast? What about the type of shoes Pius XII wore? No one cared. In fact, most Popes stayed in the Vatican, and were often not seen or heard from for months. But today, in Thunderdome, you know they are there, they remind us constantly.

Life in Thunderdome is not quiet. 24-hour access to everything is required. Participation is mandatory. Failure to update your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account is treasonous. Russian salad dressing is seditious. “Deep Throat” has come back as Deep State. The world is always on the edge of the Apocalypse in Thunderdome and the orange man might push us over at any moment.

So maybe, just for a time, we can all tune out Thunderdome! I know we can’t go back to the way it was during the Bush 1.0 years or earlier but we can use this Advent time to remind ourselves of what really matters and what really lasts.

The prophecies of Israel’s prophets gave the Jews a vision of a better future. But they mostly gave hope. Hope that there would come a time when the injustices and violence of this world would be put to flight. That hope made the present moment pregnant with expectation and pushed the people beyond their fears and temptation to collapse in despair. For us, the Scriptures from the first few Advent Sundays remind us of the future God has planned for us as well. Like the Israelites of old, we Christians have our own distinctive hope in the Kingdom of Jesus that one day will come to full-flower. That makes the present bearable.

Our Christmas preparations focus our minds and hearts on the birth of Jesus and the ways we share that joy with one another. I know life in Thunderdome says that the only thing that matters is politics but Advent tells us there is something even more important: a life of Faith. How do you get in Thunderdome? Pick a fight. How do you get in the Kingdom of Jesus? Turn your swords into plowshares.

“We don’t need another hero, we don’t need to know the way home, all we want is life beyond the Thunderdome”… Let Jesus take you to his Peaceful Kingdom during this Advent and Christmas time.

Fr. John B.

PS: Please take note of the Mass Schedule for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as it has changed.