In today’s Gospel, Jesus says: “You will be betrayed by parents, brothers and sisters, and by relatives and friends” (Luke 21:5-19). To be betrayed by your own parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, is a terrible thing.
Betrayal by someone so very close to you, which is one of the themes of today’s Gospel, has always been seen as a great crime of the heart. A spouse who violates his or her own vows and breaks the covenant of marriage. A priest who betrays his vows and abuses children. A traitor who sells out his own country by betraying it to another country.
This is one kind of betrayal – violating vows of trust in marriage, priesthood and citizenship.
But there is another kind of betrayal – one that is rooted in weakness and it happens every day. These daily betrayals need daily forgiveness. Most of all, we need to learn how to control our tendency to betray one another, since every one of us has it since we were born.
Children betray their parents out of weakness. Call it original sin, if you will. So children have to be taught to go beyond their own self-centeredness and learn fidelity to family, friends, spouses, country and God. In other words, children need to be taught to be responsible.
In today’s world, the word “good” and “evil” are rarely used. Instead we say, “healthy” and “sick”.
A friend of mine was playing in the park one day with her two-year old son. A five-year old boy came running over and threw him down on the concrete, injuring the two-year old’s head. The five-year old’s mother rushed over to her own son and demanded, “Honey, what’s troubling you today?”
There was no reprimand, no sense of right or wrong by the parent. The five-year old’s mother was oblivious to the crying two-year old. Her own son was not responsible for his own behavior. He was only troubled. There were no consequences for the five-year old.
We see this today with our public figures who are adults, or who say they are adults. They have no sense of right or wrong or of good or evil. These public figures see people attacked and what do they do? They VERBALLY ATTACK the victim who was attacked and say little or nothing about the person(s) who caused the offense.
In our world today, self-esteem is seen as more important to teach than self-control. In a book called, Inside Human Cruelty and Violence, the author says that one of the root characteristics of violent criminals is “high” self-esteem. I said “high” self-esteem, which means “I am the center of the world.”
When you listen to those who are supposed to be our leaders today, they are saying the same thing over and over again: “I am the center of the world!”
This attitude is a complete opposite to what Jesus teaches: “Your life is not your own.” Practicing compassion instead of selfishness, loyalty instead of self-fulfillment, and fidelity instead of betrayal – comes after years of training and good example.
Teaching loyalty, fidelity and honesty takes time, lots of time. We spend a great deal of time and money on our children’s intellectual progress. We try to send them to the best schools. We give them every advantage. We show them how to be popular. All that is wonderful. It’s important. It’s great.
But do we spend as much time and money training our children in their moral life? We take their moral training for granted. As a result, our children are getting their moral training from YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Toc, other websites and TV.
It is ever so difficult raising our children and grandchildren today when they watch and listen to our leaders who tell one lie after another – to the point where all their lies become “believable.” Will we someday be surprised when our children and our grandchildren will lie about their fidelity to their spouses, lie to get all they can get at work and lie even to their God?
In ancient China people wanted security from the barbarian invasions from the North. So they built the Great Wall of China in the 14th century. It was 5,500 miles long. It was so high and so thick they thought no one could climb over it and no one could destroy it.
Five years ago in 2017, I waited for two hours one morning to climb up the Great Wall in China, but no one was allowed to do so. It was drizzling at times and it was deemed too dangerous to climb. That’s life!!
When the Great Wall was first built, the people settled back to enjoy their security. In the first 100 years after the Great Wall went up, the barbarians invaded three times. Not once did the hordes of barbarians have to break down the wall or climb over it.
Each time they simply bribed a gatekeeper and marched right in. The moral and the lesson to be learned – the Chinese were so busy building and relying on the Great Wall of stone, they forgot to teach integrity, honesty, and loyalty to their children. So taking a bribe was so easy, so very easy for their children to do. Are we any different today than they were 700 years ago? Are we not doing the very same thing ourselves?
Are YOU imparting Integrity, Honesty and Loyalty to YOUR children and grandchildren and others that YOU talk to? Or are YOU simply repeating the False Messages YOU heard on TV or the internet?
IF WE DON’T TEACH OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO FOLLOW JESUS, THE WORLD WILL TEACH THEM NOT TO!!
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