Apocalypse now

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

The most prophetic thing that Thomas Merton ever did was to say to a drugstore clerk who asked him which brand of toothpaste he preferred, “I don’t care.” Intrigued by the clerk’s response, Merton wrote, “He almost dropped dead. I was supposed to feel strongly about Colgate or Pepsodent or Crest. . . . And they all have a secret ingredient.” He concluded that “the worst thing you can do now is not care about these things.”

Merton wrote in the early 1960s, long before the art of making us care about “the secret ingredient” had so aggressively entered into every aspect of American life. We can’t ride a bus, open a magazine or go online without being asked to consider which insurance company offers the best rates or which paper towel picks up the most dirt. Advent is a good time to reclaim our senses and reply with a resounding, “I don’t care!”


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