Politically: Empires rise and fall following the same course of events: rise at an opportune moment, spread rapidly, reach a stopping point, enjoy the riches they’ve won, get lazier and start losing the outer reaches, end with complete laziness and total collapse from without and within. Then the process starts over with the next one. The only thing that’s different today is that it tends to happen at a quicker rate than in ancient times. What took the Persian empire 200 years took Nazi Germany 12 years. Essentially nothing changed though, it’s completely and utterly predictable.
In our personal lives and thought we’re really no different either. We want to see justice done to people who are in the wrong. We love judging! In ancient Greece it was in the Acropolis, today it’s on the stage of American Idol (or maybe it’s X-Factor now) as we joyously watch some stuck up, scantily dressed bimbo make a fool of herself trying to sing and Simon Cowell subsequently tearing her idiotic dreams to shreds. We also have it with the shows like Judge Judy, Jerry Springer, Maury, etc. The difference may be that in Greece they had concerns of philosophical thought and the city-state law, today we love to judge stupidity, but either way, we are totally predictable.
One final one. Regardless of the Ghandi saying that gets thrown around “an eye for an eye makes the world go blind” we still want to repay violence with violence, wrongdoing with wrongdoing. You hit me and I’m gonna hit you back. We see it all over in the movies; sometimes the main character charges immediately back at the bully and knocks him down; other times it takes the whole movie to plan his revenge and trap the villain, relishing that moment when the bad guy looks up at him realizing his demise started when he hurt the good guy years ago. If you think it’s just in the movies, why do we still have the death penalty? People want to see an equivalent evil happen to someone who has committed evil. It’s plain, simple, and utterly predictable.
Nothing is more unlikely than Jesus. He was born to the most unlikely of women, a virgin, in a most unlikely town, Bethlehem, for a most unlikely purpose, to save an undeserving people. He washed the most unlikely part of the body, our feet, taught a most unlikely law of love, self-sacrifice for others, and gave us a most unlikely meal to gain nourishment from, Himself in the Eucharist. He destroyed sin and death and brought us to new life in the most unlikely way, by dying on the cross and being resurrected on the third day.
God’s grace is a most unlikely and unpredictable thing. For some strange reason He bothers to come into the very center of our vortex, the very focal point of our imminent doom, and breaks it from there. One would think, why not just call to us from the outside and get us to stream that way? But God does not work how our predictable minds do. What would that really mean to us if that’s what He decided to do? How would that really do anything to rid us of our predictability and our desire to run around in that circle, expecting that we’ll find happiness? God is not a distant God. He does not call from afar for us to hear faintly. He reaches us at our inmost being, our deepest desire, to be reunited with Him, to go home.
That grace is what Christianity is based on. That grace is what the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Himself, has preserved and perpetuated for nearly 2,000 years. That grace is the outright revolt against sin and death, breaking out of the vortex of human predictability and charging toward our salvation. It is only by Jesus, only His grace, that we are able to accomplish our revolution, not our evolution, to return home.