Many years ago when my wife and I were looking for our first house, we decided to go out for a walk in one of Ottawa’s suburban neighbourhoods. As we walked along enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon, we looked around us and saw some fine houses. Very pleasing to look at from the outside. There were beautiful gardens and nice lawns. And, of course, the driveways hosted some pretty expensive cars. As we walked along and made our way down a few streets, I turned to her and said, “Do you smell that?” She turned to me perplexed wondering what I was talking about.
“Look around these neighbourhoods. You’ll see very nice houses, expensive cars, and manicured lawns. But we haven’t seen one child in about an hour of walking around. That’s what I call the stench of death.”
Outside everything looks just peachy, but inside, everything is barren and sterile. There is no room for messiness or loud noices. Everything is super clean and silent.
Kind of like death.
We are a people who have lost their sense of hope and joy. We have put our trust and hope in material things and shut God out of our lives. Shutting God out of our lives means rebuffing creation as well. That means fewer children – or preferably for many, no children at all. After all, the world’s overpopulated. Besides, isn’t it the environmentally responsible thing to do or not do, as the case may be? Shouldn’t we be aiming for zero population growth?
This past Sunday was the Feast of Corpus Christi. We walked in solemn procession down a busy street and circled around the block and headed back to the Church. Once we turned the corner into suburbia to head back to the church, I noticed the same thing I did those many years ago, except the houses were more like mansions and the vehicles much bigger and much more expensive. As we walked in solemn procession behind the Blessed Sacrament, singing our hymns, people would come out of their houses and watch, genuinely interested in what was going on – kinda like Lazaraus coming out of his grave. In this age of technology, we sometimes forget that although much of our war today is “in the air”, the battle is also in the flesh – as in hitting the streets with the Eucharist and exorcising the cultural demons that are strangling and blinding so many.