The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Envy of the Devil

God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.
Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24

This week the world said goodbye to three icons from the Baby Boomer generation, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. How each is remembered hinges very much on one's age.

The younger set sees McMahon as Mr. Publisher's Clearing House, while those who grew up with the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson fondly recall McMahon as the consummate sidekick announcer. He was the best friend to Carson. A test pilot during WWII, McMahon graduated from Catholic University and remained a strong supporter of the institution for the rest of his life. While he had his weaknesses with regard to women, he lived a life as a generous spirit. Most remember him as everyone's friend.

Fawcett was the Marylin Monroe of the Boomer generation. Every red-blooded, American teenage male either had one of her famous pin-up posters in his bedroom or wished he had. She defined sex appeal for many; yet that objective image she created was also redeemed in her dying days. For the image that this author will remember of Ms. Fawcett in years to come will not be of her provocative poses in the 70s and 80s, but rather of her praying the rosary in her hospital bed. She was a woman of faith. She received the healing sacraments of reconciliation, anointing, and Eucharist the day before she passed, and one can presume she left this life in a state of grace.

Michael Jackson was a troubled soul. At the height of his career, no one had ever mastered the genre of song and dance he performed. It was beautiful. The very fame he earned in the end scourged him the latter half of his career. It may very well be the case that Christ is the only one who truly knew him; for the rest of the world only knew the child star; the king of pop; and in the end, the freakish sideshow tabloid fodder. Somewhere behind all of that there was a soul created by a loving God in desperate need of simple dignity.

The death of these three American icons, and now the news of the death of Billy Mays, that ubiquitous pitchman who shouted to the heavens like a carny, has many once again recognizing the fragility of life and that one's temporal existence is indeed bound by time and circumstance. Yet scripture gives us hope that while Satan introduced death to the world through his envy, Our Heavenly Father still has the last word.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1Corinthians 15:22-26

All are born into a beautiful world created by a loving God; however, it is a world at war; a place where good and evil are continuously in a pitched battle; a place where angels often intervene, and where demons do prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Christ offers a safe haven yet here exists the paradox that troubles one's intellect. For the closer one gets to Christ, the more apparent the evil of this world becomes. A view of humanity through the eyes of Christ reveals the magnitude of His ultimate sacrifice. One soon wants this world less and Heaven more.

A hundred years from now it's doubtful Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, or Michael Jackson will be remembered much. This is not to disparage their character, it's simply the reality of entertainment history. It's very short lived. Yet the reality of Christ will endure. If one is seeking to understand the meaning of the death of a celebrity, then one should turn one's focus away from the temporal lives of Hollywood and zero in on the eternal life Christ has to offer from the cross. His passion, death, and resurrection have withstood the test of time, indeed, it has transcended history itself.

No wonder the devil is so envious.


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9:40 AM  

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