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Summary: The word of God calls us to the obedience of faith. We cannot compromise with evil, even when tempted to do so by our convenience.

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Monday of 6th Week in Course

Verbum Domini

Is the Church Just Our Dotty Maiden Aunt?

“Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep thy word.” There’s a memorable scene in A Christmas Story, in which Ralphie, who longs for a BB gun for Christmas, opens a parcel from his dotty maiden aunt. The aunt makes clothing for Christmas presents, and is under the delusion that Ralphie is a girl, and remains about three years old. When the lad comes downstairs in the garb, we see that it is a pink rabbit sleeper with floppy ears. The dad says he looks like a demented Easter bunny. The critical line is from mom–“you’ll only wear it when she visits.”

I have said on many occasions that there is no such thing as peaceful coexistence with the Culture of Death, whether the secular media, Planned Parenthood, the “Right-to-Die” movement or certain U.S. administrations. They have one goal–the same one famously set in blood by Voltaire and the French Revolutionaries. The cry is ecrazes l’infame: “crush the infamous thing.” He meant, and they mean, us, the Catholic Church. Voltaire was not the originator of the idea. Pharisees of every generation approach Jesus with some conundrum, trying to test Him, either in person or in the persons of the bishops of the Church. We sigh deeply in our spirits, now as He did then, because all we want to do is bring the world the good news of Christ’s love and Christ’s way. But they cannot abide that mission of Christ and the Church. It erodes their power and stands in the way of their perverse lifestyles. If they can’t destroy us, then they want to rob us of our moral authority, or force us to do what we know is contrary to God’s will.

Catholics recently stood in uncommon unity against the administration’s mandate that we must pay for and provide contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage to employees of Catholic schools and ministries. Faced with this revolt by a voting bloc, energized by the pastors God has given us, the administration appears to have caved. I trust that our pastors will not be so naive. I taught risk management at UTSA for half a decade. There’s no such thing as making an insurance company pay for anything. Even if the President’s decision survives judicial scrutiny, and I don’t think it will, the fact remains that it is policyowners who pay for everything in their premiums. As one commentator said, just because we are not dropping incense into the fire before Caesar’s shrine, we are still guilty if somebody else drops it in without our objection.

The Holy Father tells us about our response to the word of God: “‘The obedience of faith’ (Rom 16:26; cf. Rom 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) must be our response to God who reveals. By faith one freely commits oneself entirely to God, making ‘the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals’ and willingly assenting to the revelation given by God”[76] In these words the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum gave precise expression to the stance which we must have with regard to God. The proper human response to the God who speaks is faith. It is the preaching of the divine word, in fact, which gives rise to faith, whereby we give our heartfelt assent to the truth which has been revealed to us and we commit ourselves entirely to Christ: “faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17). The whole history of salvation progressively demonstrates this profound bond between the word of God and the faith which arises from an encounter with Christ. Faith thus takes shape as an encounter with a person to whom we entrust our whole life. Christ Jesus remains present today in history, in his body which is the Church; for this reason our act of faith is at once both personal and ecclesial. The word of God also inevitably reveals the tragic possibility that human freedom can withdraw from this covenant dialogue with God for which we were created. The divine word also discloses the sin that lurks in the human heart. Quite frequently in both the Old and in the New Testament, we find sin described as a refusal to hear the word, as a breaking of the covenant and thus as being closed to God who calls us to communion with himself. Sacred Scripture shows how man’s sin is essentially disobedience and refusal to hear. The radical obedience of Jesus even to his death on the cross (cf. Phil 2:8) completely unmasks this sin. His obedience brings about the New Covenant between God and man, and grants us the possibility of reconciliation. Jesus was sent by the Father as a sacrifice of atonement for our sins and for those of the whole world (cf. 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10; Heb 7:27). We are thus offered the merciful possibility of redemption and the start of a new life in Christ. For this reason it is important that the faithful be taught to acknowledge that the root of sin lies in the refusal to hear the word of the Lord, and to accept in Jesus, the Word of God, the forgiveness which opens us to salvation.”


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