Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This evening’s interview of Catholic Primate of all Ireland, Archbishop Sean Brady on five seven live was quite a hoot.

Mr. Brady was expanding on comments he made during novena week in Knock, Co. Mayo concerning clairvoyants, astrologers, palm readers and the like. (One could probably throw in homeopaths, faith healers, colour therapists, aroma therapists and a few more for good measure!)

These people, Mr. Brady tells us attempt to divine the future in a false way.

So far so good.

What they do has no basis in truth or fact or science। No argument from me there either.

‘The future belongs to God,’ he told us.

This is where our respective viewpoints diverge, I’m afraid.

What does Mr. Brady, oh, all right then, Archbishop Brady propose as an alternative to this belief in airy fairy, manipulative mumbo jumbo?

Try this.

About two thousand years ago a guy called Jesus takes unto himself the task of dying to save humanity. This guy, Jesus, is captured by the Romans, beaten, whipped, tortured and nailed up on a piece of wood, or crucified as the parlance would have it. Then just for good measure a vindictive so and so Roman shoves a rather long and pointy spear into his side. Several hours later, unsurprisingly, Jesus succumbs to this vicious, unwarranted assault and dies. Along come some members of his cult who take him down from the cross, see that he is indeed dead and inter him in a tomb, across the entrance of which they place a massive boulder which just happened to be lying about the place (handy, like), and off home with them.

This is where things get really good.

Jesus lays in the tomb for three days…..dead.

Then, on Sunday, he decides it’s time to reveal that he is risen and so he does indeed rise from the dead and heads off to see his followers, some of whom are, naturally, more gobsmacked than others. Thomas, in fact, finds it all a bit difficult to take in and looks for a bit of proof, as you would, (Did anyone believe David Ike?) and he has been derided for the past two millennia! (Thomas, I mean, not Mr. Ike.)

Then, a couple of Thursdays later he takes some of his pals out for the day and they watch as he ascends skyward to take his place at the right hand of God.


Another time we will discuss whether God actually has a right hand or not.

So, for the last two thousand years or so Jesus has been interpreting our prayers and passing on the requests to his father. He has also secured a bit of work for his mother, Mary, possibly his father St. Joseph and literally thousands of saints in the business of intercession on behalf of us mere mortals.

For two thousand years Jesus, Mary and holy St। Joseph and all the angels and saints have been passing on our requests to God who will then decide if we are worthy of having them granted or maybe if the requests themselves are worthy. I mean, asking for a bit of inside knowledge on the 2.30 at Haydock Park might be a bit silly.

So, if you are worthy, he will grant your request and if you are not, he might just let your teenage daughter die a horrific death on some lonely boreen at 2.30am of a dark December Sunday. Or perhaps he will allow millions to starve, thousands to die in warfare or terror and good decent people to live lives of abject misery. All of this, remember, in world which was created in its entirety by God himself.

But hey, that’s ok.

It is all God’s will.

And he has a plan for each and every one of us.

Now, just as an afterthought I have been musing on the successors to Jesus of Nazareth. Who in today’s world is carrying on, or claiming to carry on, the work of Christ as God’s representative here on Earth? Who is leading us in our quest for truth, the one true truth? Who among our community and political and spiritual leaders is doing work appointed them by God himself?

George W Bush always claims to have God on his side. Ditto Tony Blair, although I’m not yet sure of Gordon Brown’s relationship with the handless, armless, footless boss. The leaders of such paragons of democracy, decency and human rights such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE and Taliban led Afghanistan all derived their power from an Islamic Abrahamic God. Their sworn enemies in the Israeli Knesset put their faith in the same Abrahamic God, only this time he’s Jewish. Our own democratically elected parliament in Kildare St. begins each session of governance with a prayer to a Christian God.

From the top of my head as I type I can think of only two world leaders of note who do not claim to be driven by a religious righteousness.
Vladimir Putin and Fidel Castro.

Go Figure.

And remember.

Roses are redish,
Violets are blueish,
If it wasn’t for Jesus,
We’d all be Jewish.