I’m not sure if there is a way to say this without offending some, many or most people but I will give it a try: Michael Jackson is not, nor ever has been, a king or the king. Nor was Elvis, for that matter. Of course I mean no disrespect and admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed many Jackson tunes – mostly from his early years as part of the Jackson 5. However, to elevate Jackson to such a role as “king” and to give him credit for such accomplishments as “forever changing human relations” is wrong.
And it is a behavior that we ought to be cautious of avoiding.
There is, apparently, a constant human need to elevate people and hold them in high regard. The recent election and media infatuation with Obama is such a perfect example of this frailty that afflicts us all. People are looking for, are always looking for, someone who they can idolize and worship – someone they can read all about and adore. Someone they can build up and make larger than life.
Sadly, Catholics are not immune to this phenomenon. There are Catholic “personalities” who enjoy the perks and privileges that come with their notoriety and fame. When Catholics forget that God is status-neutral (to paraphrase the popular political term: deficit-neutral) they are giving – erroneously – favoritism in ways that Scripture warns us to guard against (James 2:2-4 and James 2:5-9 to mention just a few).
Time spent surfing the net reading the latest news on Jackson’s autopsy to the point of addiction needs to be recognized and addressed. If you’ve never read John Paul II’s last will and testament, this might be a very good time to do just that. You will shed tears at his humble spirit.
When the elders of the Jewish people approached Samuel and asked for a king, Samuel was disappointed. However, he brought their request to God who responded, “Grant the people’s every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.”
I don’t know if the people realized that this was how their request for a king was going to be interpreted by God, but that is exactly how it was taken. Similarly, I don’t believe most of us are aware of the ways in which we give our time to things that do not benefit us in the long run – and how that same time should have been given to God.
I couldn’t help but think, over these past few weeks since the death of Michael Jackson, how times have not changed in the course of human history. We continue to reject God in ever-increasing ways and give our worship and praise to mere mortals. Knowing that we have a penchant for such behavior, it makes sense that Sacred Scripture is filled with reminders that this is not how we ought to view others.
Let’s face it, the public and the media have been so quick to immortalize Jackson that all have lost sight of the fact that he was no different than any of us. He had gifts and talents just as we all have gifts and talents. God did not regard him any more than God has regard for each of us.
It is our call as Catholics to pray for the Jackson family just as we would pray for any other family in this time of sadness and grief; but, we should not get caught up in the hype and hoopla meant to separate Michael Jackson in a way that signifies he was worthy for adulation because of the gifts and talents that God gave him.
May Michael Jackson, and all the souls of the dearly departed, rest in peace.