Our Thought Today is by Fr.Tom Cahill
Gambling is one of our growing problems. You can bet your bottom dollar on that! Itís estimated that in 2008 punters risked losing about Ä3.6 billion in the nationís 1,093 betting shops. Thatís Ä300 million more than the previous year. No recession there! This, alarmingly, doesnít include on-course betting, gambling on the National Lottery, or online. Many people relish risk, crave for chance and feed on fickle fate instead of solid faith. For some people there can be nothing odd with the odds when it comes to risk-taking for money. What, in sober moments, most of us would count as throwing money away gung-ho gamblers see as a prelude to a victory parade.
Todayís Gospel reading (Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21) doesnít deal with chance, though there may be some risk later down the road. It presents us with odds-on certainty: the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah in the person of Jesus. He was prophesied as the one who brings news of freedom to captives and those oppressed because the Spirit of God rests on him (4:18-19). In other words, because God is with Jesus he can enable us to live free of addictions, compulsions and false values. Itís a totally upbeat prophecy, and indeed Jesus is totally upbeat about it. Question is: are we?
Do we accept Jesus as he who brings us freedom? Or, do we see him as cramping our style? But thereís nothing thatís moral and legal that we canít do as a Christian that we could do were we not. You can bet your bottom dollar on that too.