12/09/2010

The reflection today is by Tom Cahill

You've heard of black tea, green tea, herbal tea, and high tea. Well now there's philosophical tea. A new fad is sweeping La France. There, children as young as eight are acquiring a taste for philosophical tea. Difficult though it may be to swallow at this remove, nevertheless, many parents in France want their children to cut their metaphysical "munchers" on heavy issues over light refreshments. Children, they believe, should be encouraged to debate life's mysteries from the time they discover the words 'what' and 'why' to give them an early handle on a complex world. The tea parties are held in cafés, public libraries and homes. Cakes and fruit juices feature prominently to sweeten debates drizzled with Descartes, sprinkled with Socrates, or piquant with Plato. No more than ten kiddies form a party. They vote on the topic of choice for the day and plunge into profundity with a vengeance.

Our brat in today's Gospel reading (Luke 15:1-32) aka the prodigal son also plunges into profundity but not by choice. He isn't interested in insight, or in grappling with life's mysteries. All he wants are life's pleasures. He gets them, such as they are, and surprise! surprise! ends up more miserable than he was before he had them. Had he developed a taste for philosophical tea he might have fared better. Had he used his head to wise up he would have fared better. We are blessed with the most complex organ in the universe. It's called a brain. Surprising how long it takes for some to find it.
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