In the movie The Matrix the main character is a guy called Neo. Neo has a normal life, but is puzzled by internet references to something called the Matrix. Suddenly his life is interrupted by Trinity, who, through a guy called Morpheus, offers Neo a choice between 2 pills: a red pill through which he’ll know the truth of the Matrix, or a blue pill to return him to his quiet life. Which will he choose? Which would you choose?
This is the very situation that Abraham faces in our first reading. Abraham has a moderately happy, normal life. Suddenly his normal life is bothered by the call of someone also called Trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through whom he faces the choice between 2 pills: the red, inviting him to experience the real meaning behind life, or the blue, where he go back to his normal life. Like Neo, he chose the red: which meant leaving his country and family to follow an unknown path with God. He became the Father of Nations. Again what would you choose?
They’re nice theoretical questions aren’t they? Except that they’re not theoretical. Today the Trinity, is asking us what it asked Abraham. Will you follow me? Will you put me before your country and society? Can I come even before even your family?
It sounds a bit radical doesn’t it: maybe Father has been at the altar wine again? But no, it’s not that: I prefer Guinness anyway. Ok, so maybe God is just being demanding and unrealistic. Some of our atheist secular critics might argue that. And many do. Not many argue that the family should come first. But certainly many argue that it’s the country, the society, the laws the government makes, which comes before anything else – even our conscience: there are laws like that already, and the push for same-sex marriage is demanding that too. Maybe they’re right: what do you think?
Except there’s three problems with that. Obviously, the idea that a government can control my heart is ridiculous. So no one is going to seriously argue that, right?
A second problem is the schizophrenia of atheist secularism. Apparently the advantage of atheism is freedom: freed of a grumpy old God I can do whatever I want. But that is also the problem. Freed from the authority of God, I come under the authority of the powerful, like the government or unelected opinion makers. And since compared to God, human beings are narrow, mistake-prone, selfish, and stupid, I become a slave to their flaws rather than a servant of infinite, infallible, totally self-giving and all-knowing God. Not very attractive is it?
The third problem is that Jesus, while asking us to love our country and family, asks us to love him first. He symbolically asks the disciples to leave the world behind and be with him as the priority. Why? He offers them something better. Glorious communion with the only one who can fill us as we ache for: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light…This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. As St Paul told us: He abolished death, and he has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News. Nobody else on earth offers us that.
And that is the red pill he offers us today: not in the future, but now, in the Eucharist: it is like a pill, because it looks like a flat one, and it is red because it coloured by his blood -which he, the source of all being, thought was worth spilling if it would help us out. A true medicine into eternal life, already today.