Vigilance

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A[1] 

So, this past week we were given the 8th accommodation to the HHS mandate.  This new accommodation is nothing more than a shell game that continues to force people to violate their religious beliefs.

From the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council:
“Effective immediately, this latest rule still orders charities, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, non-profit Christian colleges, like Wheaton College, and religious broadcasters, like EWTN to violate their consciences simply because they legally contract for health coverage. The government uses their contract as the basis to force their insurers to provide their employees with free contraception and drugs that can kill human embryos, against their sincere conscientious beliefs.”[2]

The 8th accommodation is also still playing games with how an institution is designated and needs to “file” for an exemption which brought this response from Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer for the Becket Fund, which represents Little Sisters of the Poor:

“It is disappointing that the government continues to treat religious ministries as not religious enough to deserve the same exemption it gives houses of worship.”[3]

This administration continues to push an agenda that is in opposition to many in this country, as well as in my opinion the constitution, with seemingly no concern.  Do they know that they are perpetuating evil by doing this?  Do they sit in Washington DC and various elitist think-tanks trying to do harm to mankind by cooperating with Satan?

No, I don’t believe so.

However, I do believe that they are adherents to an ideology that claims that governments and politics are the best and only means to address all inequities and evils in the world – in other words to bring about temporal redemption[4] of mankind.  This ideology is just one more flavor of the fruit that gave rise to theologies such as Radical Liberation Theology and the socio/political philosophies of Socialism and Communism.  None of those came about to bring evil to the world, just the opposite; but all of them frayed and dissolved because of an evil that is foundational to these theologies and political philosophies.  That evil, was pushing God from any and all dialogs and discernment processes.

In 1996 then Cardinal Ratzinger, speaking to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions for CELAM (the Latin American Episcopal Conference) highlighted what happens when politics tries to be the sole vehicle of redemption. ‘The fact is that when politics want to bring redemption, they promise too much.  When they presume to do God’s work, they do not become divine but diabolical.[5]

We hear as much from Jesus in today’s gospel[6] when Christ tells Peter; ‘Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.[7]  Mankind, when pushing God out of societal processes to rely only on themselves loses the divine initiative and protection from evil.

For the past 122 years (with the promulgation of Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum) Holy Mother Church has increasingly lifted her voice to the social, cultural and political ills of humanity.  She has stepped forward to offer alternatives; never trying to force her ideas on mankind but always bringing truth to the dialog.  Her concern for the redemption of mankind, both temporal and eternal, is integral to her mission.  She is concerned for each of God’s people and His whole creation.  Recently, she has seen these socio/political ideologies take hold throughout the world and has spoken strongly against them, of what happens when mankind removes God from this dialog, and how governing ends up in the hands of the powerful and the others look from outside hoping for the best.  Politics becomes relativistic, positivistic[8] and utilitarian.  We only need look at the history of the 20th century for proof.

Holy Mother Church’s alternatives are never just academic exercises, they are brought about by real issues and can be applied – which means her alternatives always involve the lay faithful.

Brothers and sisters, I have talked before that our calling as modern apostles to go out ‘teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you[9] demands our participation in society, it demands our witness to the necessity of God in the national dialog and His Truth in politics and governance.  As Christ’s faithful we are compelled to show to others that with God our struggles will be addressed divinely; without Him our actions end diabolically – regardless of our intentions.

But in addition and maybe most importantly the HHS mandate saga shows us that our part in the socio/political dialog is also one of constant vigilance.  We cannot be complacent with apparent victories, such as the Hobby Lobby Supreme court decision, because they fade into history quickly and mankind moves forward. Christ’s rebuke of Peter in today’s Gospel reading comes immediately after Peter’s inspired declaration ‘You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.[10] It highlights that mankind, even the most faithful among us, needs to be reminded of God’s plan. My friends it is up to each of us to take up our crosses and herald His truth – to bring God back into the socio/political discourse time and time again – and never tire of this mission because if not us – who?

—————————————————————————————–

[1] Readings for the day:  Jer 20:7-9, Rom 12:1-2, Mt 16:21-27
[2] Arina Grossu, Director for the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council
[3] http://www.slate.com/articles
[4] Defined: deliverance; rescue.
[5] 1990 Guadalajara Mexico, Cardinal Ratzinger address to CDF and CELAM Doctrinal Commissions presidents.
[6] Mt 16:21-27
[7] Mt 16:23
[8] Defined as the theory that laws are to be understood as social rules, valid because they are enacted by authority or derive logically from existing decisions, and that ideal or moral considerations (e.g., that a rule is unjust) should not limit the scope or operation of the law.
[9] Mt 28:20
[10] Mt 16:16

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