Things in the United States are rapidly changing today. Many of our belief systems are going through large mass changes. Just look at our idea of the word forefathers. Several generations ago if you asked a group of students about our forefathers they would have thought about our Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams. Now today if you mention four fathers to a student you may be describing a thrice-divorced woman's new husband to a student. This is a real problem that needs to be addressed. Our society is not the same as it was 100 years ago.
This brings up a question, can we survive? In the past, we survived because we shared a common faith or belief in Religion. Today is not the case.
What is wrong with religion in the US today? The once robust nation that was founded by people seeking religious freedom is now apparently seeking freedom from religion itself. Two hundred and fifty years later what’s left in its wake? The average American is very eager for change but they don’t exactly know how to get it. Our once greatest nation in the world is now facing a number of serious problems. Atheism is on the rise.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Millennial generation. They have in large part abandoned religion. Moral fragmentation and relativism are increasing. Church attendance, even among Catholics, has fallen to record lows, with no bottom in sight. People are even at war with the human body (transgenderism). It’s not an understatement to say that our nation has lost its Christian soul.
A simple test can tell if you are among these people. There are four essential questions that need to be considered:
1. Do you find that you are just going through the motions of life?
2. Have you ever wondered about this before?
3. Are you trapped in a maze of competing situations that seem to be sucking the living energy right out of your soul?
4. Are you tired?
Well, if you answered yes, you would be a typical person living in the US. The average person in this category is eager for a change but doesn’t exactly know how to get it. The US, at one time, was once the greatest nation in the world, is now facing a number of serious problems. One of these problems is that the youngest generation will not live at the same level as their parents.
Millennials also are widely predicted to become the first generation in U.S. history to do worse than their parents financially. This generation born roughly between 1981 and 2001, this is the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. In the popular press and blog rants, millennials are routinely described as narcissistic, lazy, overly entitled, addicted to social media, and coddled by their helicopter parents in whose basements they plan to live until their mid-30s. Without a strong work ethic and without proper Catechesis what will happen to the Church when the Millennials take control of the leadership?
According to the Oct. 2019 Pew Research study, this same age group had a drop of Church attendance of over 16% in the past decade and an increase of 13% who now say they do not believe in religion at all.
This is a real problem and these problems really worry most people. However, many people are clueless about figuring out this one simple truth: This problem was wrong yesterday, 2,000 years ago and tomorrow. The answer should be a resounding no. No, no. We must say no to simple quick fixes without Jesus as the center to the solution. When you replace the government for your God you have committed a felony and truly inverted religion. At this people begin to depend on and worship the state without realizing that the state is actually us. In effect, you have replaced Jesus with a man.
But wait, surely you can take that back. In sort of a weird twisted piece of fate, you could possibly change what is about to happen. The problem is how we view things. Or to put it more correctly, your lack of eternal clarity. Many of us think the only day by day. We may believe in social justice. We know it is right to help others. However, today if someone calls for social justice, we drop everything and believe in him without looking at who is actually behind it. We never question how it will be done and do not question who will do it.
We need to wake up; if not, we will live and relive that day and then do it again and again, again and again. All we are doing is stringing together a series of one-day experiences. We are not thinking about the eternal. Yet soon enough we all know that we will face the eternal. My question here is why not plan for it today.
Are you happy? Are you truly happy?
I was talking with a high school student the other day and they mentioned that they were anxious about the future and nervous. I am telling you right here and right now, unless and until you live a Christ-centered life you will be anxious and nervous. God is what will center your life. God is what will help you feel less nervous. You will be that way the rest of your life unless and until you change the way you think about God.
The English author, GK Chesterton wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
This is the theme of the article. Clearly our ideals are not wrong. We simply have not tried them. Christianity is a way of life, not a destination to visit once or twice a year. Christianity something we should use every minute of every day not just for fifty minutes on Sunday.
We cannot just read about something—we must act upon it. We cannot simply talk about something we must do it. We are not simply Catholic by lip service—we must be Catholic by thought, word, and deeds. Service is not for others it is for us. We should do something to build up the community not to build us up. Inflated opinions of ourselves will deflate.
In his 1931 essay, Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote, “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance—it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”
Brother and sisters, this was written almost 90 years ago, yet it is as fresh and crisp as if it were penned today. Things have not changed; that is why the Bible is important yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Apostle Paul traveled around Anatolia and set up many local parishes. Once he left, problems appeared. He did not cause problems. People did. We cannot make morals by following the whims of the majority of people. Right is right now and forever. Some things do not change. Should we change our morals like we change our clothes?
The Apostle Paul explained it this way in Phil. 1, 27-28, “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel, not intimidated in any way by your opponents.”
Paul knew what Bishop Fulton Sheen later told his TV audience in the 1950s, “ If you do not live what you believe, you will end up believing what you live. This is true today. We cannot nor should not express belief in something and then act the opposite. What are we saying here? Will our actions speak louder than our words?
Brother and sisters, take up your cross. Are you ready to do so? Are you willing to do so? Rise up, stand on your feet and make a physical commitment to not only change your life but to be a walking advertisement for Christ. Christ is here at the altar every time you go to Mass. You are there. Together with working with the Lord, we can solve everything. Apart from him, we cannot. Rise up, take the words of Paul to heart and become a missionary yourself. Your parish needs you, your neighbor needs you, this community needs you, and Christ needs you. Amen