Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Difference is Christ...

Writing to you from the international terminal of O'Hare airport means enduring the maddening hassle of security and crowds. Jesus looked upon a crowd with pity as they were "like sheep without a shepherd". Sinful realist as I am, my own gaze tends to see them "like sheep without common sense or focus". But that is just one difference between me and Christ.

In his recent book the cardinal archbishop of Chicago relates why and how Christ is the difference God makes in our world - a world that is now infused with the hope of Christ who is the light of the world.

His Imminence presents a collection of essays and talks he has presented over the past few decades ranging from Christian - Muslim dialogue to areas in liturgical studies in need of elaboration. A common theme of these essays is the influence of the late John Paul II on the cardinal's thoughts and the overall need for Christianity to articulate better its vision of the world - a vision that comes to us from Christ - and to remain firm in its outlook of hope despite the tremendous and almost overwhelming cultural and societal divisions which result in the uprooting of Christian foundational thought and philosophies.

Sadly, this book falls into the nonredeemable category of "books employing end-notes". Surely one of the clearest signs of the original fall of man - the end-note. Like any problem of evil, the question of "why" arises. Why end-notes? Why not footnotes? The advent of the modern word processing software allows for easy layout of footnotes. An esteemed editor might respond by pointing out that this book is a collection of essays and so a continuous numbering of footnotes cannot coincide with related but separate essays. And so perhaps a compromise could be agreed upon: end-notes at the end of each chapter/essay instead of at the end of the book. Even though Christ has brought redemption to the world we still experience the effects of sin - such as end-notes. Come Lord Jesus! Come quickly!

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