The Hell of a Pastime Paradise

They’ve been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They’ve been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They’ve been wasting most their lives
Glorifying days long gone behind
They’ve been wasting most their days
In remembrance of ignorance oldest praise
Tell me who of them will come to be
How many of them are you and me

Race Relations
Confirmation…….to the evils of the world

Stevie Wonder may be blind, but his lyrics to Pastime Paradise prove his deep insight into some of humanity’s greatest sins. Many of these are illustrated in this Sunday’s readings: Exploitation, mutilation, consolation to the evils of the world. It was these things that the Maccabee family gave their lives to overcome. Those who killed them placed great value on these evil ways, seeing them as their source of power. Practicing them became their pastime, or, their way of life, so they could maintain their earthly paradise—which was threatened by what the Maccabees represented: dedication to another paradise. This family’s power was faith, which was the one value their persecutors did not possess. But when these torturers saw how precious this value was to the Maccabees, something they couldn’t take away from them, their evil natures couldn’t help but envy them:

“Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man’s courage,
because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.”

This young brother saw a destination beyond this earthly realm, and he and his family knew how to reach it. So did Paul, as is evident in this Sunday’s reading from his letter to the Thessalonians. Similar to the Maccabees, Paul’s life was being poured out like a libation, and as is evident in each of our readings, faith is the key to a preeminent Godly realm. That key has survived centuries of being lost and found throughout man’s pastime paradise.

“Brothers and sisters, pray for us,
so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified,
as it did among you,
and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people,
for not all have faith,” Paul writes.

But every age of man’s pastime has its Sadducees, who, like the king overseeing the torture of the Maccabees, could only marvel at those with the vision to see beyond man’s realm. In today’s gospel, these non-believers tested Jesus in their atheist arrogance, using man’s laws of marriage to force Jesus into a corner about who stays married in this paradise he promises.

“The children of this age marry and remarry,” Jesus tells them,
“but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.”

Passing time on earth is man’s greatest sin. But those who live it as a means to a new beginning, not to their end, will find eternal Paradise.



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