Photography by Alex Luyckx
Arms nailed down
Are you telling me something?
Eyes turned out
Are you looking for someone?
Jars of Clay say it so beautifully in their song “Liquid” which appears on their self-titled album. So the question is: if Christ is telling us something — what is it?
And are we listening?
For the past three years I’ve attended Oakville’s Catholic Youth Organization’s Way of the Cross. Youth from the Catholic parishes of the city, along with a few scattered from the other denominations, make their way solemnly from downtown Oakville, Ont., to the outskirts of the city stopping along the way to enact the Stations of the Cross. But is this message lost in today’s society? We are being constantly bombarded by the media. No longer is it just print ads in the newspapers, commercials on television or radio. Billboards in bright flashing colours and large screen TVs glow long into the night distracting drivers inching their way along in rush hour traffic on clogged highways. Just take a walk along Yonge Street in Toronto and they will be there as well, similar to Times Square in New York City. Ads on websites, text message ads from your cell phone provider, and telemarketers calling to your home.
Can we actually hear what Christ is trying to tell us?
When Elijah was looking to hear a word from God did he hear it in the loud noises of the storm? No. He heard it in a small still voice. Are we drowning this out by allowing ourselves to get distracted by the loud noises of our modern society? Is this just another scheme of the devil’s to keep us from hearing or spreading Christ’s message? The youth of today are especially prone to this distraction, as we are one of the most highly targeted brackets of advertisers.
The trouble is that the world is telling youth one thing and the Bible is teaching the complete opposite. The world tells us that we have to get there on our own, that money is power, and if we seek out power, we won’t have any more problems. Weakness is scorned and violence should be repaid with violence. Christ, on the other hand, teaches self-sacrifice. To be willing to humble ourselves, to be a servant and follow his example. To be willing to even die for another person. To turn the other cheek and forgive those who hurt us rather than seek our own vengeance.
This is the main problem that I see facing PYPS and the Church in general. So should we change the message? Should we gloss over the parts that aren’t “in tune” with the world? No! The message must remain intact and unaltered — the Bible tells us so — but maybe a change in approach is required. Maybe we need to find ways to counter the attraction of the world.