The sermon by St. Peter Chrysologus I looked at yesterday was directed to people experiencing the barbarian invasions into the Roman Empire in the 5th century. Notice he never mentions in his sermon the barbarians, or their leaders, or what places have been burned, or those from this village or that who had been enslaved or made hostages.
That’s all said through the images of Noah’s flood, of Abraham’s journey, of the exodus of Jews from Egypt, images forming the substance of his sermon. Through these images he offers meaning and comfort for what people of his time are experiencing.
Today it’s so different. We seem to get only the actual experiences, the bare facts of our time, the raw data of life, without the benefit of ultimate meaning and comfort. We’re flooded with facts and images about our worldwide economic, political and military disasters. And it’s always more and more. If any interpretation is given at all by our media–the preachers of our time– it’s usually a political spin. “Liberals” or “conservatives” are responsible for it all.
We only hear secular sermons.
We’re missing God’s word offering meaning and comfort.
Later preachers after Peter Chrysologus, like St. Paul of the Cross, would tell us to make the Stations of the Cross if we want to know what’s going on. In the unjust judgment of Jesus, his falling and rising again, his meeting with his mother, his crucifixion, death and resurrection, we can find ourselves and our world. We were there. We are there now.