By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2004
The following was not delivered as a homily. It is a parable offered as are all parables, to help build your relationship with Christ.
Once upon a time, there was a great and wonderful land. One could see for miles and miles nothing but fruitful fertile fields, clean babbling brooks, lakes filled with fish some jumping in the air. Some said the land was endless. That was except in the East. There one could travel only so far for it seemed the entire Eastern Part of the land was marked by a tall and flat butte.
The wall of flat rock rose to what seemed like three hundred feet to make a small ridge no more than one foot wide. The base of the rock where all the roads of the land converged boasted a great temple where the priests of the land lived. They were the ones chosen to speak for the sole God of the people. The people you see had evolved over time to the point where they realized there was only one God and not many deities as had been believed by their ancestors. This God they recognized as a benevolent Father. Yet being God, he was never seen. People talked of miracles at his hands, they talked of faith in the living God and they celebrated with joy his very truth.
The land had several rules of good civil behavior, but one rule some visitors found strange. It was forbidden to climb the butte and even more forbidden to cross over it. If anyone failed to obey this rule, then the city would be destroyed. Well, so the priests taught that the Deity had said. This was a rule that was one of several handed down by the Deity or so tradition taught. No one ever questioned the rule.
Yet, over several decades a school of thought started to arise that there was not any god. If there ever had been that he had died and that the race of people had evolved to the point that a god, real or imagined was no longer necessary. It was really the people of education that came to believe and teach that thought. One of these institutions of higher learning, a place called Harvestard, actually supported the teaching that only stupid people believed in God.
So it was that the educated people considered themselves too sophisticated to have any faith and so they taught that was the new way to be. "After all, we had evolved you know," they would say.
They began to preach that there was no God, that humans were really the race of liberation and that they were the true gods. Needless to say, in this system people who taught in universities were the most godlike, at least so taught the people who taught in universities.
They labeled as foolishness talk of this Father God, calling it nothing more than superstition. Some of these revolutionaries were even members of the sacred order of priests. They turned on their brothers and joined the other side. These were called Payasos in their language. That translates to "Priests of Integrity." Needless to say, integrity is something of which they had none.
The rebels created a group that they called "Grapadacas" which in their language means, 'those who speak for the faithful'. They used Grapadacas to call others to their new rebellion. They began to find out bad things about the other priests the ones not called payasos and started to get the whole land against them. They learned of those priests who were not living up to their vows. They spread news of their sins. Then they used that news to make all priests look bad. All priests, except for the payasos, many of whom were far worse than any of the so called 'bad priests'.
The Grapadacas claimed to be rebuilding the Church. However, they were not really seeking to purify the religion, only to destroy it. They wanted to silence the voice of those whom they considered superstitious. They came up with a devious plan to put all the priests in jail using a program supposedly designed to protect children. Yet, it was actually a program designed to use children to speak lies againt the priests and their supporters and then put them all in jail. The Grapadacas and the Payasos felt that once priests were out of the way they could lead the people to full liberation by taking them to the other side of the wall.
So the scandal began, one by one they silenced one priest, then another, then another until the only one left was the head priest, a holy man named Abiathar. He stood his ground and pleaded with the people not to climb, nor cross the butte.
Yet, rebel leaders would not listen. One of them, once a marshal in the city, a man named Gains, yelled to the people to follow him. He had become a professor of organizational revolution at one of the local schools of government. Indeed, he, working with others in that school and with the payasos, plotted and carried out the action to silence the priests and destroy the religion. This was, so he kept saying, that the people could be free. He proclaimed himself the first to lead the people to freedom. He, a mountain climber by hobby, grabbed himself a Jacobs' ladder, rolled it up, put it on his back and began to climb the butte. Slowly he made his way up the side of the rock face. Many expected him to be struck dead by lightning, but it never happened.
When he reached the top, he dropped down the jacob's ladder so that others could follow him. He then stood and pushed his fist in the air declaring to the world proof that God did not exist. He demonstrated that there was no lightning to strike him dead. There was no sudden death as he reached the top. He was free. He called out that he could see a beautiful land, a lake just below in which he would jump and swim to the new land. It was there he vowed that he would begin a new civilization free of the silliness of God and of what he called superstition. He disappeared on the other side of the butte.
The people began to murmur among themselves and to ask whether or not they should follow him. The others from the school of government did not hesitate at all. Neither did the payasos and the members of Grapadacs. Working so hard to destroy the religion, they now climbed the mountain with virtually no resisistance except for the pleas of Abiathar. He kept warning them about the rule handed down by God. They laughed at him and mocked his holiness, they called him superstitious and then repeated to him the epithets against priests created out of the scandal.
One by one they climbed the rock face using the Jacob's Ladder. Once they reached the top, they, imitating the marshal, pushed their fists in the air and screamed out one slogan after another. One man screamed "God is dead!" and descended down the other side of the butte. Another screamed "Fraternity, Equality and Liberty" as he pushed his fist in the air. Yet another screamed "Religion is the Opium of the People!" He too disappeared down the other side.
So it went, one after another, the line went on for days as each and every person screamed for freedom for all humanity. Each time Abiathar begged them not to go, but they mocked him, laughed at him. Some even spit in his face.
Finally, there were only ten people left. Abiathar lay in tears. He looked up to the ten remaining and asked if they too were going to climb the butte.
One walked over to him, reached down and pulled him to his feet. "No dear Abiathar, for we have learned that the God is right."
Abiathar smiled, his face turned aglow as he wiped away tears. "How do you know? You do see that no one was struck with lightning and no thunder appeared." He asked almost as if he was testing the man.
"God said if anyone climbed the butte, the city would be destroyed. So it is, there are only ten of us left. We have no one to till the fields, no one to work in the city. We have nothing more than an empty city and ten people. Our city is destroyed. God was right.
"Further," he added. "Every person climbed that butte seeking their own personal freedom and glory. Not one climbed in an interest of building anything for anyone else. Those prideful people will be incapable of building a new city, they will eat themselves in their selfishness."
"You are correct my son." Said Abiathar. "They have failed to take into account that only God knows the human heart. Sadly," he added. "In the interest of their freedom, they have enslaved themselves to fruits of ignorance of the power of the human heart. "Yes, we have evolved," he said. "But we have not evolved out of the human heart."
A woman responded "We have only ten people, but we are ten people humbled and wise before the Lord. We will build with God's grace a loving city that will be filled with the joy of living God."
"Your children's children will be eternally grateful for your fateful decision today." Said Abiathar.
So it was. After several generations passed the city was alive again. The people humbled themselves before God and no one climbed the wall. It was a place of great joy.
As for the others, most died in a vicious war that broke out among them five years after they went over the wall. It was a battle over territory and rights. Those few who survived actually ended up taking their own lives. So fearful they were that they would live a long, long time in such a hellish land. None of them ever did find their freedom.
http://www.catholicismanew.org MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - parochial vicar, 617 542-5682
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