Homily - St. John Chrysostom on how the media manipulates and divides us
Release Date: 06/14/2020
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Homily for All Saints 2020
Continuing on the theme of Division
Call to unity. But we experience division. The devil loves to divide us [and to solve that division with hedonism and tyranny].
[Review the three parts of the mind]
Rather than taking the unity of God into our minds (through the heart), and spreading it through our families, friendships, communities and the world; we do the opposite: we take the divisions and tyrannies of the devil in the world, bring them into our minds (through our emotions; justified by our brains), and spread them through our families and friendships and communities and the world [giving it back with usury].
We have entire industries devoted to sowing this division through our emotions, under the guise of entertainment and news.
Everything is turned upside down (in the theater). Who is it that plots against our marriages? Is it not the theater? Don’t you see how this makes it impossible for women to love their husbands? Don’t you see how this leads husbands to disdain their wives? Don’t you see how this encourages insatiability, adultery, and divorce? This is how it is not just with the theater itself; the theater-goers themselves are subversive of our families and community; they bring a grievous tyranny among themselves and into our midst. St. John Chrysostom, “Homily 37”.
[Restate that in terms of race. It also works for politics, sex, etc.]
The media make money by playing up our divisions [and then offering hedonism and tyranny as a solution]. They know how to use the emotions that the images and stories they craft generate to manipulate us to watch more news. That’s their model for making money. They devil rejoices in this because it takes people who have SO MUCH in common to distrust and even hate one another. This is true of the entire news and media system. We can’t think that we have opted out because we have found an unbiased source or balanced one set against another. They are still manipulating us and dividing us for market share.
So what is the solution?
God gave us our psychology for our salvation. The evil one uses it to manipulate and divide us; the Church works with our psychology to save and unite us.
- First. Cut way back on our screen time, to include news and social media. Don’t let them feed the emotions.
- Second. Pray. Read pious and useful literature. Watch pious and useful entertainment.
- Third. Love. Don’t judge. Be charitable.
It is easier for Christians who actually pray the prayers of the Church in their daily prayer rules, surrounds themselves with icons, and avoid the excesses of the media to live well because they know from the depths of their heart that they live in a beautiful world among the saints. Such people have has set themselves up for success.
One final thought [drawing on the parallel between marriage and the Church]:
What would you think of a married man who spent more time hanging out at the bar with his bachelor and adulterous friends than with his wife?
What would you think of a wife who spent more time complaining about men with her friends than nurturing her marriage?
How long would you expect their marriages to last? And if they lasted, how happy would you expect that marriages to be?
[Restate this with regard to our nation and community.]
We have to be intentional about our relationships with one another in order to find peace and joy within them. It is the same for our relationship with Christ. We cannot live healthy Christian lives without nurturing our relationship with Him. He is Incarnate in His Church. That means that we must devote ourselves to the life of Christ here in this God-protected parish.