Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter in Real Time: Susan Boyle in James Martin's Analysis

The way we see Susan Boyle is very nearly the way God sees us: worthwhile, special, talented, unique, beautiful. The world generally looks askance at people like Susan Boyle, if it sees them at all. Without classic good looks, without work, without a spouse, living in a small town, people like Susan Boyle may not seem particularly "important." But God sees the real person, and understands the value of each individual's gifts: rich or poor, young or old, single or married, matron or movie star, lucky or unlucky in life. God knows us. And loves us.

"Everybody is somebody" said Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan at his installation Mass in New York City yesterday. That's another reason why the judges smile and the audience explodes in applause.

Because they recognized a basic truth planted within them by God: Susan Boyle is somebody.

Everybody is somebody.

Everybody is somebody. And Catholicism means, James Joyce maintains, "Here comes everybody."

Which suggests to me that the best--the only effective way--the Catholic church can get across its message that everybody counts in God's eyes, that everybody is invited to the table, is by treating everybody as somebody.

Not just saying it. But doing it. Especially in liturgical enactment--as I noted yesterday.

In my view, the hunger at the heart of those millions of hits for Susan Boyle at YouTube is a spiritual hunger that the churches are not fulfilling, because they say that everybody is somebody and that everybody is welcome, but they don't enact that message effectively. They don't live it.

And as long as they don't, people will turn to the Susan Boyles of the world for liturgical experiences that the churches should be offering, but aren't.