Today seems to be a day for remembrance and reflection. Thomas More published his novel (known by the shortened name) "Utopia" in 1516, perhaps 500 or 501 years ago.
The delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution (preparing it for ratification by the individual states) on September 17, 1787, or exactly 230 years ago.
William Golding published "Lord of the Flies" (a kind of dystopian novel) on September 17, 1954, or exactly 63 years ago.
Today's Gospel reading is from the end of Matthew, chapter 18. The chapter has 4 segments:
- Recognition of the dignity of children in God's eyes (in opposition to the lust for recognition and authority).
- Recognition of the preciousness of the lost sheep in God's eyes, and his willingness to go to great lengths to save them.
- Laying down a procedure to correct a brother who has wronged you and who is resistant to correction.
- Establishing forgiveness as an essential virtue in God's eyes.
This very chapter could have inspired Golding's plot for "Lord of the Flies" in the sense of "what can go wrong."
Parts of the Constitution have been reinterpreted in ways that are convenient (let us say) to the progressive agenda for humanity. (Somewhat ironically, this reinterpretation has incorporated "progressive" ideas of "natural law," as a justification for departing from "original intent.") Certainly the rule of law seems to be following a decline that has mirrored, in significant ways, the decline of civilization found in "Lord of the Flies."
One of the frequent refrains of people discouraged by the results of a legislative effort is "Where were the adults in the room?" If you read "Lord of the Flies" without asking the question "How would adults have resolved this conflict?" You probably didn't derive anything useful from it.