Tag Archives: Catholicism

Matthew 7:23

One of the greatest things about having President Trump in the White House and being newly married is that I have not had any reason to blog…really anything.  However, the Chinese Corona Virus is seeming more and more like yet another anti-Trump plot, and more, an attempt by China to completely subvert American power. I firmly believe that this will all come to light eventually, but in the meantime…

The following was written in extreme frustration, nay, anger,  on Saturday, April 11, 2020:

Tonight is the Great Vigil of Easter, the holiest night of the Christian calendar. The night Christ broke the chains of death and opened the gates of Heaven for us all; a night when churches are packed to the rafters to bear witness to the Light of Christ.
Not tonight though. Tonight, the name of the new god is “social distance”, and so pastors are arrested and congregants are threatened with self-quarantine house-arrest  fines, or jail time. The latter is especially ironic, considering that prisoners are being released from correctional facilities in order to “stem Covid-19 infections”. (Spoiler: Not a great plan.) From St. Peter’s in Rome to your local parish, the doors are locked to the faithful.

Tonight, I realized just why I am so absolutely furious about it all.

Catholics, in the weeks between Easter and Pentecost, will spend a great deal of time hearing about the Apostles in the days and weeks following the Crucifixion. We will hear about how Peter stood up with the Eleven and basically called out the Romans, saying:

“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.

Not to give anything away, but this sort of declaration of faith did not exactly endear the Apostles to the Roman overlords.

Still, in homilies and in readings, we will be told to have the faith of the Apostles, to go out and preach the Word as they did. When the mission preachers come this summer to beg funds for their missions around the world, we will hear the stories of St. Damien of Molokai, or Gregory the Great, or Sts. Roch, Aloysius Gonzaga, and of course, the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Each will preach with great enthusiasm the love and care these holy men and women provided the sick, the suffering, and the dying.

Yet the doors remain closed. When faced with our own version of the plague, manufactured or not, the clergy from the Pope in Rome all the way down to the local bishop, remain as the apostles -huddled and afraid- in the upper room.

The faithful, called upon more often these days for the contents of their wallets than the strength of their prayers, are cut off from that which we hold most dear. We are barred from Holy Communion. Confession is impossible. Our babies remain unbaptized, our ill and our dying left to die without Last Rites. Marriages are cancelled. The burying of our dead, impossible.

We are so often told to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” I have a hard time believing He would be okay with any of this. I cannot help but feel these actions by the clergy have been a major victory for the evil one.  Where is the faith that the apostles and the saints had? Where is their strength to stand up to civil authority and do what is right, as Peter did, in the very name of the man that the city authorities had so recently, so brutally, put to death?

If the very leaders of the Church cannot practice what they preach, how can they expect us to do so?

 

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Yes, God is Love, and So Much More

I may be going out on a limb here, and maybe I’m in the minority, but I highly dislike when God is pulled into political arguments to make a “point” by people who really have, to be blunt, no clue what they are talking about. These people usually try to pigeonhole the Lord into two categories – love and vengeance. They focus on very narrow parts of the Bible, mostly “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” and then will pick and choose various parts of Leviticus and Deuteronomy to show how most of the Old Testament isn’t relevant anymore and can be conveniently ignored since we are cool with divorce and eating shellfish.

Theologian, I am not, but I do pay attention to the world around me, have been blessed to have friends willing to engage in spiritual and religious discussions, and I know some truly wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to God, both lay and religious. I know people who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious” and others who have cast away whatever religious upbringing they might have had and consider themselves agnostic or atheistic. Others may have no spiritual or religious guidance and float from church to church still seeking something, and they themselves are not sure what it is. None of them deny that human beings are made not only of mind and body, but spirit as well. Perhaps this is why it irks me so much when people try to use God, and it is always the Judeo-Christian God, to serve their own political ends. We must accept gay “marriage”, because Jesus said we must love everyone. We must not judge the woman who has an abortion, because Jesus said, “Judge not, less ye be judged”. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone used the story of Jesus stopping the crowd from stoning the prostitute to defend the hook-up culture*.

The problem with only using these few verses or passages is that there are 73 books in the Catholic Bible. Protestant versions vary; the King James version, for example, has 80. Out of these books, there are countless verses, as each verse is only a sentence or two. So yes, Jesus did say, “Do unto others whatever you would have them do unto you. This is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) but a few verses later He followed that with “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'” (Matthew 7:21-23) In Matthew alone, Jesus speaks of punishment for wrongdoing at least as much as he preaches love and forgiveness. Indeed, he often speaks of ways to avoid sin, to give up material world goods in order to bring oneself closer to His Father. Does your hand or eye cause you to sin? Pluck it out or chop it off. Better to lose a hand or an eye than to suffer eternal damnation in the fires of Hell. Men, stop oogling women. He who hath looked at a woman with lust in his heart has committed adultery with her already. That’s a two-fer right there, with the 9th Commandment (adultery) and one of the Seven Deadly Sins (lust). Moses permitted divorce, but Jesus spoke against the practice, again saying that it forced women to commit adultery.

Here’s the long and short of it. People sin. We do bad things, we hurt others. We make mistakes, we falter. We tell little white lies, and we tell big whoppers. We mess up. Big time. God knew that 2000+ years ago, and Jesus came down to take the heat for us. Instead of us suffering eternal damnation with no hope of Heaven, He took the punishment. We’re not entirely off the hook though. Like a parent, God is looking out for our best interests. He will comfort us when we’re sad, rejoice with us when we’re happy, and when we screw up, as we will do inevitably, we will be punished in some way. A child who was allowed to run roughshod over his parents is a child who will grow up to be a spoilt pain in the butt. Any parent of a toddler knows the benefits of a time-out. Yes, God DOES love us, more than anything, because like we create our children, God created us in His image. Like we reprimand children when they misbehave, so must we be reprimanded. It’s the consequence of having free will. Catholics call that place of “eternal-yet-temporary” time-out Purgatory. It is, from accounts I’ve read, definitely a place of punishment, and not in the “sit here and think about what you did” type, but bearable because souls there know that it is temporary and one day we will be reunited with Christ.

Beyond that? God is God. The Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. He cannot fit into any little political idea. He cannot be narrowed into one, concise statement like “God is love” fluff. That’s just the first sentence. God just IS. In fact, He summed it all up quite nicely Himself, without any help from us.

I am.

*For what it’s worth, His last words to the prostitute were, “Go forth, and sin no more.”

EDIT: I found this blog post over at the Matt Walsh Blog. It’s one of my favorite blogs, and Matt pretty much summed up what I said above, just better. 🙂 I hope he won’t mind that I’m linking to it from here. Please read it.
http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/04/07/jesus-didnt-care-about-being-nice-or-tolerant-and-neither-should-you/

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