A TV personality was interviewed recently and the first question he was asked to clarify was whether or not he had “gone all religious”. The implication was that religious people are a bit strange and it would be a pity if he too had gone off the rails and become like those Christians. Incidentally, this was on the same programme that dangled crystals over people to try and find them a partner, and invited people to phone in and say whether Madrid, Manchester or Motherwell was the capital of Spain, in order to get a chance to win thousands.

People have always had it in for those who are “religious”. The godless in today’s reading from Wisdom decide to make a man’s life a misery in order to see either if he will crack or if God will intervene to save him. And in our culture that puts all its eggs in the basket of earning, getting and having, even the most dedicated religious person (whether Christian, Jew, Muslim or whatever) comes under severe pressure to live for the moment with no thought of what lies beyond.

So do the wicked prosper while the good go wanting? In a certain sense they do. They appear to have a good time at others’ expense. But those who do evil begin to experience death. There is a physical and psychological wearing down brought on by wrongdoing. And there is an even greater deterioration of enthusiasm, happiness and trust. To cast decency to the wind means that we have to look for increasingly more exotic ways of “getting our kicks”.

Christians don’t believe in Karma, in what goes around comes around. Instead we trust that God has our best interests at heart and that the way of life that Jesus invites us to follow will not leave us ultimately lacking. Our faith is not about having, but about being. It places us in a relationship with God that is all satisfying. Christianity is not a thing, it’s a communal way of living in which we believe in a God of love who made us for life, living and loving, and who has promised to be with us to the end of time. Since God upholds our life, this is enough for us. We leave the fate of others in God’s hands.


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