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A Letter to Diognetus: We’re Not Home Yet

Today's Office of Readings has as its second reading an excerpt from a Letter to Diognetus.  This is one of my favorite readings.  I'm not sure why, because every year when I read it, it makes me feel uneasy, unworthy — yeah, all of that.  Listen to this portion of it:

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body's hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

That just reminds me that no, we're not home yet.  We are supposed to live as full citizens of the world, but also as aliens in it — the whole Catholic both/and approach to theology in general.  We must take our place here and make present the Kingdom of God on earth.  But we must always live remembering that we are not ultimately destined for life in this world, and so must not be too attached to things, people, anything that drags us away from our Creator.

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CNS STORY: ‘Da Vinci Code’ draws laughs from journalists at press screening

CNS STORY: 'Da Vinci Code' draws laughs from journalists at press screening

CANNES, France (CNS) — Toward the end of the movie "The Da Vinci Code," the main character, Robert Langdon, tells his sleuthing partner, Sophie Neveu: "You are the last living descendent of Jesus Christ."

 

That line, meant to be the dramatic apex of the film, drew laughs from many of the approximately 900 journalists who viewed the film's first press screening May 16 at the Cannes Film Festival.

 

The derisive laughter, along with widely critical comments from reporters afterward, summed up the Cannes press reaction to the much-heralded launch of the movie. When the credits ran, silence and a few whistles drove home the response.

Director Ron Howard points out later in the article that this movie was not intended to be theology but rather entertainment.  The review makes the second portion of his comment seem unlikely.  And while not intended to be theology, I think the whole Da Vinci Code phenomenon — if you can call it that — is intended to put theology, or at least the Church, in a derogatory light.

But maybe that's not even the motivation.  Basically, these things exist because they'll sell, and heck, who wouldn't like to make a few million dollars?  The sad part is that people will go to see the movie, and be unentertained, and fuel the movement that derides the Church and the Gospel in the process.

I think I'll miss this movie.  But not much, if you know what I mean…