In my humble opinion, the greatest novel of the last century is Ernest Hemingway’s masterpiece, “The Sun Also Rises.” It is a story of a generation of men and women wandering lost in a world devoid of any real meaning. The novel begins with an epigraph taken from today’s first reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
One generation passes and another comes,
but the world forever stays.
The sun rises and the sun goes down;
then it presses on to the place where it rises.
Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north,
the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds.
All rivers go to the sea,
yet never does the sea become full.
To the place where they go,
the rivers keep on going.
All speech is labored;
there is nothing one can say.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing
nor is the ear satisfied with hearing.
Does any of this sound familiar? Are we, as Gertrude Stein once said, “a lost generation?”
Sometimes it seems so. We live in a culture where the beliefs that safely brought us through the centuries are cavalierly tossed aside like the remains of a half-eaten frozen dinner. The focus of our world is the individual, regardless of the consequences of selfishness, greed, envy and worse.
How do we live? Do we understand that who we are is who God created us to be? Can we accept the gifts that he has given us, or do we have our own agenda? Consider the quote above. Are we being our true selves or are we deceiving ourselves and others to conform to the false notions of success and accomplishment demanded by modern society?
Jesus is the answer. Those who find him are never lost.