I am uneasy watching Netflix’s comedy movie, Love Hard. The happy ending movie talks about young people catfished when using a dating app. The film offers a naïve solution. It says to be honest on the online platform to navigate or avoid being catfished in life.
That’s not what made me uneasy. Netflix kicks the season with new Christmas movies. The unease is because of the disrespect shown in portraying Christian motives. In the movie, Natalie (Nina Dobrev) is upset with Josh (Jimmy O. Tang) for catfishing her. Natalie then grabs baby Jesus displayed outside the home of Josh, using it as a toy weapon on him. Josh could not stop her from desecrating the perfect creche. The disgusted Natalie walks away, saying, “I will let baby Jesus take the wheel.”
I can say it’s just a fiction movie. And I am not writing a movie review. You need to understand that many American movies cater to an audience raised Catholic (or Christian) but are not actively practicing the faith. Christmas has become a secular festival – without Christ. It’s more a season of fun, frolic, and family- if you have one. Remember, those who do not have anyone to share the festive moments, irrespective of faith affiliations.
Those catfished find it challenging to trust. And for the majority, it is difficult to overcome the betrayal in a relationship.
We have ample reminders – around the corner – that some decision has a cascading effect in life. Wrong choices eventually lead to disaster, and few can make the right decision amid confusion, betrayal, and misfortune.
Advent is a time to make the right choices and avoid the ones that will compromise readiness to meet the Son of Man. Jesus uses the title Son of Man as opposed to Son of God. The Jewish people in Jesus’ time hoped for a military messiah to come and overthrow the Romans. But the Son of Man did not have such connotations.
Let’s focus on why Jesus says: Be Careful in Luke 21:34: “So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly.”
It’s the curious three words: carousing, drunkenness and cares of this life. Jesus points out that these three things compromise readiness to meet the Son of Man. If you’re not careful, carousing, drunkenness, and worry will affect decision-making to stay alert when most needed.
What is carousing? Why is Jesus advising us against it?
It sounds like a big word. Let’s look at it as the situation compromise readiness. Carousing or dissipation is nausea or confusion resulting from drunkenness. It is the after-effect of overindulgence in pleasures of life. The creative energies are wasted in useless works. The problem with carousing is that it is the opposite of stewardship. Jesus calls us to be good stewards and use God-given resources, not to squander time, money and relationships.
Why does Jesus say to avoid drunkenness?
People associate drunkenness with alcohol, but it also applies to the intoxicating effects of drugs. People are intoxicated by power, ambition and lust. Drunkenness compromised the value of judgment, reducing mental and physical abilities. One cannot be watchful while drunk. It is a criminal office to drive under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs. There is a penalty involved. Carousing and drunkenness are closely related. Drunkenness compromises decision-making abilities in critical situations – and to be ready for redemption is no small decision.
Worry. Why Worry about it?
Jesus says to be careful about the cares of life. Worry is the opposite of faith. People, not rooted in faith, are worried, anxious, and perplexed. Worry accomplishes nothing but may give you high blood pressure. Worry inhibits decision-making when danger is approaching. God is our protector, provider and sustainer. Worry may be milder than carousing and drunkenness, but it kills our spirit and our faith.
What is Jesus’ solution?
Jesus spoke of end times to prepare us for redemption, the second coming of the Son of Man. End times do not scare faithful who worthily stand before the Son of Man because they were alert, watchful in prayer. It can sound simple – pray to avoid dissipation, drunkenness and anxiety.
Jesus is not giving a recipe for physical fitness. Whosoever avoids carousing, drunkenness and worry will stay healthy. Jesus’ focus is on spiritual energies to do the will of God.
“Christmas is coming” is a panic statement for some. “I have to do that and all,” the anxious would say. People are deluded with anxiety and miss to savor the season of Christmas. But Christmas remains a season of hope, faith and love.
Anguish is more for those who failed to keep up their faith. The end time will be devastating for them. But followers of Jesus are expected to rejoice, as their savior is at hand. Christians are called to anticipate the end with hope.
It’s not enough to avoid the three things: carousing, drunkenness and worry. It is important to be stewards of the resources entrusted to us. It is imperative that we cherish our faith, grow in a deeper relationship with God. Advent is an opportune time to stay alert – make good decisions rooted in faith, hope and love.
The movie Love Hard is a reminder. The values of the Gospel will always prevail, even when others mock Christians for their faith in Jesus Christ.
This Christmas, pray for those catfished – those who lost a sense of trust in others – may experience the faithfulness of God. May all have an experience of truth, honesty and spontaneity.
Above about, Jesus cautions us to avoid things that compromise our alertness to serve others. Christmas is always about giving – not self-serving. Christmas is other-centered, never about self-satisfaction.
People are successful in avoiding carousing, drunkenness, and worry. The true worth is when we make collective decisions for the benefit of our common home.
About the Author
Feroz Fernandes, a Catholic Missionary, identifies himself as an Uncommon Priest. Father Feroz loves adventure in the apostolate. Check out his debut book The Uncommon Priest: Incredible Stories You Never Read on amazon. And also, the YouTube Channel: Feroz Fernandes promotes a better understanding of scripture.