Walking through Las Vegas you can get a real understanding of why it is called ‘Sin City’. Of course the obvious reasons are right there in front of your face; gambling, gluttony, overt sexuality, drinking. All of these done in the appropriate and moderate way are not sins – but the casinos will help you step over the boundary; but that isn’t the real issue.
As I was looking out of my room window at Caesars Palace, this past Thursday, (we were there for a reunion of my wife’s friends) towards the great fountain display at the Bellagio, and past that, down the strip with all the immensity of buildings and lights and electronic displays, it dawned on me. I had just spent the past few hours walking around taking this all in; being bathed in man’s great architectural and technological achievements, being amused and amazed. But now, in the quiet of my room I realized that throughout all of this you forget about God. The only place I saw something that reminded me of our Creator was when I noticed some artistic crosses at a Goth jewelry shop. God is forgotten (of course I am generalizing).
His holiness Benedict XVI has mentioned in some of his writings that mankind is losing its sensitivity the about our creator; that was once stronger with those in an agricultural culture and environment. Seasons don’t mean much anymore, we can minimize the effects of winter and summer and we don’t notice the different things that each season brings because we can attain their gifts throughout the year. We can extend daylight – it doesn’t have to be dark anymore; if we happen to look up at night sky we don’t see the fullness of God’s creation in the stars because they aren’t very noticeable anymore. His premise is that we lose the cosmic evidence of the eternal because we are insulated from it.
People are just withdrawn into themselves and their achievements, Las Vegas is a great example – but is everywhere. What we create is neutral; neither good nor bad; why it was created and what it has numbed within us is the problem. This is probably the greatest challenge to the New Evangelization; getting people to be aware of the transcendent reality that is God – have people open their eyes to the wonder of true creation and not the flash-bang excitement of man’s creations.
This is what came to me looking out of the window towards the glitz and glamor of the Vegas Strip, but what also came to me was Psalm 144: ‘Lord, what is man that you care for him, mortal man, that you keep him in mind; man, who is merely a breath, whose life fades like a shadow?’
God answered this question with his Son – we are everything to Him.
The great question for each of us is (reworking Psalm 144):
‘Man, what is God to you that don’t you care for Him, Eternal God, that you push Him from your mind, God who is the animator of all creation including yourself, who life never fades but who died for you.
May each of us dig deep into our hearts to answer this question and then take to the streets of man’s great achievements and bring our answer to everyone we meet.