September 6, 2011 - Tuesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

“See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental powers of the world, and not according to Christ.” Our world is filled with empty, seductive philosophies. Every human being in existence really only wants to be happy, so every philosophy must promise happiness of some kind. Empty, seductive philosophies deny true happiness, settling for easy happiness in this world, and then fail to deliver even that.

The philosophies are seductive because they tell us the “real truths” that we always knew deep down. In other words, they confirm our fears. Many worldly philosophies tell us that you live on this earth, and then you die, and after death there is nothing at all. How do they know? There is, of course, no scientific proof of this, nor could there be, yet they tell us that we who believe in life after death, we who believe that we are more than atoms and electrons, are simply fooling ourselves. We are all afraid of death, so when they tell us that the fear is real, what could be more seductive? But they are just ignorant as we are.

Having confirmed our fears without a basis, the philosophies are empty because they deny the only possible source of happiness. God gave us an infinite capacity for happiness which can only be satisfied by loving him. He is the only infinite good in the universe. We are going to live forever, which is a very long time. Anything less than the infinitely good, beautiful, and true God will eventually be boring. Sex, money, parties, drugs, power, entertainment, games, and every other source of limited happiness fail to satisfy our longing. Everything on earth is boring after a few years at most, how could it possibly last forever?

So these philosophies tell us that there is no God, that death is final, and that humans are selfish. Then they promise us happiness with money, sex, and power. Jesus tells us that God is our Father, that death is the beginning, and that we have a capacity for perfect love. Then he promises us happiness with poverty, chastity, and obedience. “Brothers and sisters, you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, depend on him, be built up on him, and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Do not be afraid, and do not settle for what fails to satisfy.