Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fourth Sunday of Lent: “Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them”

“But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets." 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23

In our day the Lord does still send, and does still come to us, through his messengers: through the Church, through the Holy Father, in fact through all of those who selflessly and courageously teach the truth that comes from God and is taught infallibly in the Church by the indwelling Spirit: “I send you the Spirit to lead you into all the truth.”

And so we see that the living Lord, who founded this Church by the sending of the Spirit and who made, and continues to make of us, His own people by that same Spirit, sends “messengers” to us that we might hear and know the truth and also might be granted the grace of living in this way of salvation, the Church, which is the "place of Faith".

Also in these days our Holy Father fulfills this mission as messenger through his trip to Africa. His role of service is to preach the truth which they, as well as we, have a right to hear. Howls of condemnation and protests in Europe greeted his words of moral teaching. What strikes one about these events in our days is not that people have disagreements. People disagreed with Christ in his own day and you can all witness the result in Christ raised up on the Cross, "drawing all men to Himself". No, the disagreements are not a cause for surprise.

What is unique is that the forces of the dictatorship of relativism react with scorn, derision and sometimes violent opposition when someone like our Holy Father Benedict refuses to bow to their rigid, pagan and diabolic creeds. They demand that he be mute and succumb to their pressure. His courage in Christ and the Holy Spirit call him to do otherwise. It simply is his job to the speak the truth, whether popular or not, and never under any circumstances can he approve of any moral evil, whether contraception or abortion or corruption in government or sexual violence against women.

As Benedict said to the Bishops of Angola and São Tomé:

"Indeed, as a corrective to a widespread relativism which acknowledges nothing as definitive and, even more, tends to make its ultimate measure the individual and his personal caprice, we hold out another measure: the Son of God, who is also true man. Christ is the measure of true humanism. The Christian marked by an adult and mature faith is not one who is borne along by the waves of fashion and the latest novelties, but one who lives deeply rooted in the friendship of Christ. This friendship opens us up to all that is good, and it provides us with the criterion for discerning between error and truth."

" must the Son of Man be lifted up." Let the Lord be lifted up that we may glorify Him, in the teaching of our Holy Father and the Church, in the work of the Spirit in the world. Yes, "lift Him up"; you too must go forth as messengers, that all nations may behold Him and come to know the truth and thus be set free, "so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." (Jn 3:14-21 )


(Photo: AP – Pope Benedict XVI greets a group of Pygmies from Cameroon's Baka tribe as he leaves the Vatican embassy.)

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