March 7, 2009

Black Holes

Friday – 1st Week of Lent
Matthew 5: 20-26 “Leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled
with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

One of the things that amaze me in Astronomy is phenomenon called black holes. Science defines black hole as a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, including visible light, can escape its pull. It continually absorbs any interstellar dusts from its direct surroundings. It eats practically anything!

Our gospel today speaks of a different black hole. It is a spiritual black hole. This spiritual black hole we commonly called “anger” can eat and absorb all our positive and spiritual energies. There are two kinds of anger for the Greeks: Thumos and Orge. Thumos (flame) which is described as anger which quickly blazes but quickly dies down. On the other hand, Orge (long-lived anger) which is described as the anger of a man who nurses broods for a long time and which he will not allow to die. Both anger can zap our energies.

We do have lots of thumos in our daily life. People around us can always trigger us to thumos: A maid who cannot follow simple instruction, noisy students in our class, an unkind word from our co-teacher or co-worker, receiving our son’s quarterly report card, unwashed dishes in our sink upon arriving home, a tricycle driver who charged P30 for a two-kilometer ride, a long non-sense homily, a waiter who serves wrong food after a long wait, a bank employee who entertained somebody who is not in the long queue, and many others. This spontaneous burst of anger is not yet a sin unless we allow this feeling to control us and lead us to say uncharitable words and bad action. It is simply our natural emotional reaction to something which is not right. Usually after expressing our anger to the person concerned, it simply disappears and dies down. Keeping this anger is useless and ridiculous. And yet it can still drain some of our positive energy and ruin our beautiful day. It’s a baby black hole.

On the other hand, orge (long-lived anger) is the kind of anger that can be compared to a destructive spiritual black hole. This anger is the one liable to judgment. This is the anger that does not know how to forget and forgive. This is the anger that refuses to be pacified and it seeks revenge. People who nurse this anger for years are unhappy people. They are imprisoned by their feelings of deeply rooted resentment and hatred to others. They don’t grow spiritually. They are stuck. They have little positive energy to share because their spiritual black holes continue to drain all their life-giving energies. This kind of anger could ruin friendship, family, and community. To forgive is the only cure.

A friend of mine blurted out when he saw his long-lost enemy, “hay naku, nakakainis, nasira na naman ang araw ko.” It’s black hole at work!

If we are to follow Jesus, any kind of anger must not be part of our life. Remember, nobody can call himself a Christian and nurse anger at the same time.

I remember talking to an 88 year old man in Batangas. He told me that he has five secrets of long-life: eat vegetable, drink lots of water, wear a smile always, pray regularly, and most of all… do not keep anger in your heart by forgiving people. It makes sense.

- Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ
Carmelite Convent
March 6, 2009

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