When I look at People Magazine, I can hardly recognize celebrities of the younger generation. I do know a few names who are probably passe as well — Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dog. Lately, I can’t seem to avoid hearing about the misfortune of Lindsay Lohan. I don’t want to wish her ill, but she seems to have an obnoxious sense of entitlement. Having gone to rehab many times and failed, violating her probation for a drunk driving charge, and her general distain for authority, she seems to be in need of something that could correct her behavior.
She is equating her plight with women who are victims of cruelty and unusual punishment, and even sights article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which prohibits torture and inhuman degrading treatment. She recently showed her now famous middle finger painted with a word that I can’t print here as a message to the judge and those in authority.
She is now bound to jail for ninety days which I doubt she will end up serving. What brought a smile to my face was the reaction of she and her attorney after hearing the sentence of ninety days in jail for violating her probation. She said “you can’t be serious.”
The more I thought about it, the more I felt that this could be an interesting characteristic of our times. No one wants to suffer the consequences of their behavior and no one wants to sacrifice for anything. You can’t be serious.
Those may have been the words of Bernie Madoff. They could be the words of Michael Vick, they could be the words of Lehman Brothers, BP or even Goldman Sachs. Life has its consequences and its challenges, but with a little bit of luck everyone is trying to avoid them.
It was similar in Jesus’ time when the rich, young ruler didn’t want to give away all that he had.. I could hear him saying to Jesus, “you can’t be serious.” When Jesus tells his disciples they need to forgive, not just seven times but seventy times seven — you can’t be serious. When he tells them to turn the other cheek after they have been struck already, I can hear the disciples saying “you can’t be serious.”
So, was Jesus serious when he said you’ll have to walk the extra mile and you may have to suffer for my sake and discipleship will require something of you? Yes, he was serious. And perhaps it’s time for us to look at our lives and think about taking the opportunities we have seriously. Perhaps, we need to be more hospitable to others in our lives, give more of ourselves when it comes to service here at St. John’s and be more generous in our giving, not only of our time but of our financial resources.
Perhaps the problem in our society is that we are not serious enough when it comes to being honest, sacrificing our time to help others or letting go of our financial resources and just being generous. There is a lot of talk about this but in the end a lot of people say “you can’t be serious.”