The Friday Thought - Discovering who has the real power

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One of the things I find difficult when I stay at home is not having sole ownership of the remote control. With my brothers back from El Salvador and London respectively, not to mention the new arrival who is now over four months-old, plenty of competition exists for viewing rights.

With the advent of the switchover to digital television we have one of the new multi-channel packages at home.

As usual there’s sports, movies, lifestyle, music, news and documentary channels. The choice is so extensive you spend more time changing channels than actually watching television programmes.

Another danger involves the existence of the various channels having a plus one hour option and if this isn’t bad enough some have plus two hour options which means my mother and sister can watch their favourite soaps not once, not twice but three times.

Soaps are bad enough but when my father gets settled in for the night we have to endure crime programmes, both real life and fictional, wildlife and history documentaries not to mention the cowboy films. Thankfully he’s an Everton supporter so he’s not interested in the sports channels!

Just when you think television can’t become more repetitive and mind numbing and I’m not even talking about daytime TV, you’re suddenly introduced to the world of children’s and infants’ channels. I never knew so many of the channels existed. I thought true power over the television lay in possession of the remote control then this wee character came along sitting in his bouncer and suddenly the world and all viewing rights revolve around him. Already I’ve had to endure ‘Sponge Bob Square Pants’, ‘Bananas in Stripped Pyjamas,’ ‘Bob the Builder, ‘Fireman Sam’, ‘the Tweenies’ and not to mention ‘Balamory.’

Even now I’m afraid to mention the programmes because I can’t get the theme tunes out of my head. The wee man sits in front of the TV fascinated by the colours, moving imagines and sounds. Every now and again Jake will kick his legs or swing his arms in tune. As long as the infant is content then he has control of the television. From eight in the morning until seven or eight in the evening there is only one boss in the living room and the rest of the home revolves around him and no-one complains, well no-one complains too much or too loudly. Anyway I could do with a break from watching sport on TV and actually becoming more active myself, although you have to be careful as Fr Canny found out after his exploits on the Waterside Half Marathon. Only recently a woman from Inishowen asked a friend had Fr Michaal left the priesthood. When asked why she thought this the woman explained how she had seen a headline in the local paper which read, ‘Fr Canny on the Run’.

The God revealed by Jesus Christ shattered the illusions and perceived ideas and notions which existed in religious and cultural circles of his time. Throughout history there is a constant challenge to remain mindful of the God at the heart of our faith. Jesus proclaimed a kingdom far removed from the empires and the kingdoms of this world. God’s power shines through in the strength and the courage of being vulnerable, of being able to open your heart to the world and not being afraid of being hurt or rejected. In this weekend’s gospel Jesus explains how we too have to become like little children learning anew to put our trust in God as a Father. We have to become vulnerable enough to depend on God alone, allowing him to be our wisdom and strength. Jesus was born into this world as a helpless infant, he also offers up his life as he dies helplessly on the cross with his arms outstretched at the mercy of others. In this world when we encounter the meek and the helpless how do we respond to their plight?

The people who have real power are those who can touch our hearts, who can evoke a response by changing people’s ideas and perceptions. These are the men, women and children who can help us to overcome our fears and selfishness allowing us to reach out to others. These people who have become the hands, feet and voice of God enable us to recognise Jesus in the faces of others. The real power at the heart of the gospel, the real power revealed by Jesus Christ is the wisdom and strength to recognise all people as our brothers and sisters that united as one family we help each other through our struggles and problems so we can journey together along the road which leads to God’s eternal Kingdom.