It’s still summertime; vacations are in full swing, the 17 is packed as expected as many transverse the mountain to get to the beach, and post COVID crowds are at the movies. Summer at the movies bring us a time to escape if we choose, but if we look closely into storylines of the films we can see the themes can bring us right back to our faith journey.
This past weekend I felt a bit like my old LA-self, seeing two films in one weekend, Mission Impossible and Sound of Freedom. While one is complete fiction based on a real threat of where AI could lead us, the other deals with a true story of human trafficking that most would never like to think about. Think about these we must. How we do not let false information take us over and how do we look at the facts of trafficking and do something?
First there was the Word, then the Word made Flesh. The Flesh was then made Word for you and me. We do not have to go back to analog to save the day (no worries, not a spoiler alert here). We need to fully go back to the Word of God. We need to refocus on the truth and the way, his way for us. We are taught to trust God for he is our source. The Holy Spirit gives us discernment and understanding to make our way through the noise. Turn to him. Did Solomon not say, “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong?” God listened and based on why he asked for this wisdom it was granted. God leads the righteous and guides us with his wisdom. This is not just for Solomon, but for all who see seek God’s truth and his will.
God knows us more than we prefer at times, especially when we are tempted and swayed from following his will. Thus at times the 10 Commandments become a challenge to honor. When we talk to the children about the sixth commandment, you shall not commit adultery, we talk about honoring and respecting your own body as well as others. We are told not to covet others or things. Yet here we are in an age when the US is the largest consumer of child sex, known correctly as child sexual abuse, the world is seeing child sexual abuse material grow exponentially, double of what there was in 2020, and human trafficking is estimated to be $150 billion global industry today.
In Sound of Freedom, one character is the sinner turned Good Samaritan who decries when he was able to see into the girl’s eyes, he saw the sorrow in her soul. He turned a new leaf for “when God tells you what to do, you cannot hesitate.” Are we listening to God’s call? We are to clothe the naked, not take clothes off. Are we still asking “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?”
Our church goes beyond these walls at our parish, beyond the comforts of home. While ending misinformation and human trafficking seems like an impossible mission, remember, you are a disciple of Christ. You have the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You are nourished by his word and body. Together we can transverse this mountain by holding ourselves accountable as a start. Be honest with yourself and others. Make a moral choice on what you watch and read online. Be the eyes and voices for those who are silenced and enslaved. While we cannot escape the realities of our time (OK maybe for an hour or two in the movies), we can make a difference. You can learn more about our social justice ministry online at https://stnicholasandstwilliam.org/social-justice/.
—Reflection by Catherine Campbell