Waiting for the Unexpected In Pasolin's The Gospel According to Saint Matthew John the Baptist appears as a wild but distinctly un-biblical figure in appearance. This, perhaps, is due to his lack of biblical dishevelment. He is not the wild man of biblical art, nor is he entirely familiar to us. Instead, like the people on whom Pasolini focused his camera, he bears the appearance of a man of the land. He is a rural prophet speaking to a rural people. In contrast, the Pharisees and Sadducees who listen to him appear as well dressed, clean shaven men of the city. They misunderstand the words he says, and so an ultimately fatal sequence of events ensues.
Naturally, this scene is often interpreted politically. The masses, represented by John and Jesus, are oppressed by the classes. But this hypothesis is one which forgets the meaning of both the Gospel of Matthew and Pasolin's film. Pasolini's style is full of the unexpected. Matthew is equally surprising. His Christ is one who emerges from unexpected surrounds. Pasolini's stark, austere setting reflects Matthew's assertion that God can raise children of Abraham from these stones. In this time of waiting, we ought to always expect the unexpected. Indeed, the incarnation exemplifies this. The Son of God emerged from the stones of human existence and it is the gravity of this realisation which allows us to understand John's impatience with those who listen to him. We are not passively waiting. On the contrary, we are actively anticipating.
An Advent Prayer
It is said that while there is life there is hope. This has even a deeper meaning in reverse, while there is hope there is life. Hope comes first, life follows on. Hope gives power to life because hope is strength. The amount of energy in the world is equal to the amount of hope in it. Hope is a light shining in the dark. It never gives up. As long as there is hope no situation in our lives is impossible. Advent invites us to wait in joyful hope for the coming of our saviour Jesus Christ. Lord, when all is said and done you are our only hope. Amen.
I think children and indeed adults have the expectation that they have a right to be entertained. It is almost as if it is the government's fault that they are bored.' ~Antony Sutch
Why are so many people seemingly bored these days? Technology has created endless possibilities. You can store thousands of songs into a tiny ipod. Mobile phones are internet linked with access to any information we want. Yet it seems we are bored. The underlying cause must be deeper. There seems to be no connection today with anything spiritual in our lives. Spirituality connects us with something deeper and lasting. But sadly we are loosing that connection. We don't know how to feed our minds and hearts with something substantial. But it's not too late to find ways and means that will bring our lives meaning and fulfilment. Am I bored with life? Am I looking for something deeper? Can I make a little room for God during these weeks of Advent?