Thursday of Fifth Week in Course
Joy of the Gospel
This Gospel is one for the thoughtless atheist to seize and wring out for every drop of abuse of the Catholic truth. It looks on the surface like Jesus sinning. He is verbally abusing this poor pagan woman, whose only offense is to ask for Christ’s help. But, of course, Jesus could not sin. So what’s the explanation?
We know from studying post-exilic Judaism that by the first century, the Jewish leaders had turned away from the original vision God had for the descendants of Abraham. God wanted the Temple to be a place that attracted people from all over the world to orthodoxy, to right worship, right living, and right understanding. First-century Judaism was inward-looking, treating people like this woman as less than human, and even calling them “dogs.” So Jesus is with good humor taunting this poor pagan, “shouldn’t I be taking care of the Jews exclusively?” The mother answers also in good humor, “yes, Lord, but let me have the scraps that fall from the table.” Jesus affirmed her faith and her human dignity by driving out the evil that afflicted her daughter. All human beings deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity. All are welcome to the healing power of Christ’s presence, both then in His mortal body, and now, in His sacramental power.
The pope has been admonishing us with respect to treating the poor with dignity, and he continues: ‘Doubly poor are those women who endure situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence, since they are frequently less able to defend their rights. Even so, we constantly witness among them impressive examples of daily heroism in defending and protecting their vulnerable families.
‘Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present [the Church’s] position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out [for] vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.
‘Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?’
The “hookup culture” treats the sacred bond of marriage as an outmoded idea, and the man and woman (or other pairing) with less respect than they would have for mating sheep. The abortion supporter treats the unborn child with less respect than they would demand for a puppy. Let’s pray for their conversion. And manifest our support for the unborn, for instance by getting the “Choose Life” license plate, which supports adoption. Every day we should work hard for a broadening and deepening of respect for human life at every stage of development.