How could we, living in the culture that we do, not stand accused by the first reading today? “No obscenity or suggestive speech.” “Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you.” Could St. Paul have more explicitly condemned our entertainments if he had seen them himself?
Yet how can I preach this without opening myself to the just accusation of the Gospel today, “You hypocrite!” I have often sworn off television and movies only to return to them. Yet I cannot be silent on this topic, letting this clear condemnation pass by lest I be accused myself, because then I would really be a hypocrite. Contrary to the popular use of the word, a hypocrite is not someone who condemns their own sins. A hypocrite is someone who condemns every sin except their own.
So today I will not mince words, because Paul does not. “Be sure of this: no immoral or impure or greedy person has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.” And that applies to movies and television too. Whenever I say this, there is always someone who comes to me and talks about the rosary on EWTN. Of course I am not talking about that. I am talking about everything else. If the only television and movies you watch are EWTN and the Discovery channel, fine. But almost everything else is filled with discussions of immorality. What is the average sitcom these days except “obscenity or silly or suggestive talk”? And all these reality shows about dresses and housewives, what are they other than covetousness and greed, celebrating lifestyles that can only be condemned? Listen to the names of these shows, “Modern Family” and “The New Normal”. How is that not the anti-Gospel?
But it is all art and entertainment. And what is a person supposed to do, be entirely separate from the world? And we don’t watch them for those things but for something else. And we just want to relax at the end of the day. “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” It would be a shame to go to Hell over a tv show, but Satan will use anything to distract us from God. St. Paul’s point is that we Christians have better things to do with our time, like thanking God and helping others. Satan would rather we waste our lives with television and movies, and the Internet; I am not even going to get started on the Internet.