5 November 2017: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Finding Peace in Geekdom
Where do we find our peace? Busy schedules, work pressures, school exams, home responsibilities, all tug on our time. We look for and need escapes, whether they are in hobbies, stories, movies, activities, or people, and many of these are very good! As geeks, we have a lot of excellent escapes! J.R.R. Tolkien even agreed for the need and value of a good escape: “I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which ‘Escape’ is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?” Sometimes, we just need to get away for a little while, whether it is to the neighborhood comic store or to the towering peaks of the Misty Mountains.
The ultimate Escape, the primary destination, however, is the one Whom we should always keep in mind: Jesus Christ. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see the Pharisees turning constantly to pointless activities and meaningless honor. They, too, look for escape, but their view is twisted: they look at escape as the end, rather than the means. Everything we do, my fellow geeks, should only be a means, leading to the Ultimate End. Does that mean we must evangelize by cosplaying? Of course! Why not?! Can we use Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who to bring others closer to God, or to even draw closer to Him ourselves? Certainly. In the words of St. Benedict, we must “prefer nothing to Christ” and that applies to everything we do.
Does this mean, however, that every word that comes from our mouths must be a religious one? I don’t think so, and we see the clue we need in the Gospel: we are to humble ourselves, work faithfully and quietly, and practice our faith in all our actions, and sometimes this means working quietly in the background. In other words, we must humble ourselves before Christ, even in all our Renaissance Faire-attending, Harry Potter-reading, Catan-playing, and sonic screwdriver-wielding glory, for “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Only in the Lord will we find peace.