Saturday, July 14, 2012

15th Sunday. "They went off and preached repentance": Called to be faithful not successful

If we were to take our cue from the culture around us, what would we be celebrating today? Most likely “Bastille Day” would be the number one “party excuse”, as some like to put it. “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”: now who could possibly be against those things?

As a matter of fact, many around the world continue to claim personal and national inspiration from this battle cry of the French Revolution. In fact, however, these three ideals were advanced in the name of the Revolution and against the Church and our holy Catholic Faith. These principles were used against the superior rule of God our Creator and Lord and our Redeemer who, in and through Christ, chooses to advance His holy will in and through the Church down the ages and until the end of time. For a period a statue of the so-called "Goddess of Reason" was ensconced in a place no less sacred than Notre Dame cathedral in Paris until such time as the reason of God put Faith back in its proper role in French society.

Some people say that as long as Catholics can gather inside a church for Mass than all will be well. Not so.

The Revolution in the old USSR also recognized freedom of worship as does our current administration:

“Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.”

There is another “revolution” afoot in our own day that likewise cloaks itself in well-sounding words but in fact is an attack upon Christ and His Gospel. This is nothing other than the HHS mandate and any assault upon our religious liberty which comes from God and may not be usurped by any human person or government. Christ the Lord sends us out to bring His peace to
others through the whole Gospel which is the only grace that satisfies the needs of every human person through active charity by which He becomes incarnate again in you and in men as a fruit of His saving love by which calls sinners to repentance so as to know, love and accept salvation in Him as the source of these blessings.

Cardinal George of Chicago warns us that the “HHS mandate will mean an end to Catholic hospitals, clinics, charities”. These good works are the way in which Christ is present to the world at large, continuing His presence in love beyond the walls of our churches and the visible confines of the Body of Christ so that all will come to know Him through His saving love and answer His call to Eternal Life.

Cardinal George answered some questions in regard to the mandate and the assault on religious liberty that gives rise to it.

“What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices:

1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life.

2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable.

3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government.

4) Close down. …”

We know and we believe that to create a toxic environment for Catholic charitable works of any kind is to attack the healing and serving ministry of Jesus Christ today. Jesus Christ sends us out to show the Gospel by our works of charity. These are not options but rather necessary to the way of life He showed us Himself as he walked this earth. Imitating Him is part of the fullness of life which begins now in love and continues forever in heaven.

We "preach repentance" with His Eminence Cardinal George and all of our bishops because in Jesus Christ we call all men to salvation. This call to repentance begins in the simple acts of feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and all the charitable works of the Body of Christ. The bishops stand in the place of Christ today as they send us out to serve the world through the truths of the Gospel in word and action.

Joining the struggle against the HHS mandate and in favor of religious freedom is nothing more than proclaiming Christ and His saving love to a world as much in need today as that moment two thousand years ago which we hear about once again in today's Gospel: "Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out".

Jesus Christ sends you and he sends me. Will you go?

God bless you.


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