Saturday, April 28, 2012

"If we are being examined ... about a good deed done ... know it was in the name of Jesus of Nazareth": the Church, marriage, and salvation

Even God obeyed His own plan for the family, even when He did not have to do so, in choosing a father for Jesus when a human father was not necessary for bringing Him into the world, conceived as the Lord was by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

Let's conduct an experiment this evening (morning) and imagine how we might implement practical improvements upon the daily life of the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

For example, if Jesus had two fathers wouldn't it be obvious that he would benefit from having two men who would be able to provide a masculine role model around the clock, working in shifts to make sure he was never without? Would not two mothers better be able to give him the benefit of learning how to respect women and learn from their wisdom and experience, and to reject the temptation to like them for what they do rather than love them for who they are?

"But, Father", you might respond, "that's the Holy Family! You can't even suggest such a thing! Isn't that blasphemous?" And I would respond, "Exactly: you cannot change a thing about the Holy Family. And to attempt to do so is blasphemous. But not for the reason that you might think. You cannot and should not change a thing about the Holy Family because they are a family. That is reason enough."

You see, God understood that even though Mary was a single mother (and we can pretty well bet Mary would likely have been the best and most capable single mother the world would ever know because she is the holiest of all mothers), God chose a foster father for Jesus even though He could have made any other choice he wanted because He is God and therefore all-powerful. Even God obeyed His own plan for the family, even when He did not have to do so, in choosing a father for Jesus when a human father was not necessary for bringing Him into the world, conceived as the Lord was by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

Every child has a right, just as Jesus did, to be loved and raised with a man-father and a woman-mother. And no one, not even God, has the right to change this truth. Marriage is not a selfish and do-it-yourself living arrangement whereby two adults come together create their own life-style, even when they claim it is about "love". Marriage is also about children, about the next generation that might come into the world through a husband and wife who cooperate with God by sharing in the marital act in a holy way.

And that's the second point. Every family is called to be holy, just as the Holy Family was, by cooperating with God's plan for the man, woman and children that make up the family as the holy way of life God intended. Every family is called to recognize that family life is a holy way of life, the "domestic Church". And when families fall short and do not live and act in holy ways we do not need to change the truth about the family because we have the sacrament of God's forgiveness for serious sin in Confession. Confession is the answer that God gives in Christ for those who sometimes fail in their struggle to live up to the holiness that is proper to God's plan for marriage and family. Families are holy because families are the way to salvation for every human person.

"If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed."

The Church is being "examined" with intensity in these days for her healing mission to people who are "crippled" in various ways: pregnant women, children in the womb, people confused about personal identity and marriage and about God and the truth itself.

Some people examine what the Church does and say she is "anti-choice" even though the "choice" of directly taking an innocent child's life in the womb is never morally permissible. The right choice is God's choice: life. Some people judge the Church by describing the defense of and teaching about marriage as "hatred". This is a judgment and a libel and morally wrong also for those who cloak themselves in righteousness in their destructive and disruptive agenda to use the word marriage to describe something other than the life-long union of one man-husband and one woman-wife.

The Church's role of serving the salvation of the world is in teaching right and wrong, good and evil, and to teach about the dignity of the human person in the use of freedom to choose what is right and good and to reject what is evil.

Even the Church's freedom to proclaim that salvation in Christ is the reason for these and her many good works of service, teaching, healing and caring is in peril for being under attack by the godless agenda that rules in the halls of our government. The Church can not and will not obey any unjust and evil law which demands the funding of the killing of unborn boys and girls and endangering their mothers through any means whether abortifacients or abortion procedures.

The Church insists upon her freedom to teach the moral truth to all those "crippled" by ignorance of the truth whether willfully and responsibly or whether without culpability as those who do not know the truth through no fault of their own.

We are called to have missionary motivation wherever our vocations place us.

"It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, 'for the love of Christ urges us on.' Indeed, God 'desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth'; that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary." (CCC 851)

Compassion means giving the truth to others, not pretending that one can change it in order to manipulate their feelings. It is not our role to make others happy. That is a gift for them to receive when they meet, know and love Christ and decide heroically, generously and selflessly to do God's holy will despite their personal preferences, feelings or theories.

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