TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B 21
JOHNNY’S RUN FOR LIFE
“You know the commandments: You shall not kill.”
We live these days in a dark valley. We kill our elderly in the name of compassion. We kill our children in the name of convenience. We mutilate sexual organs in the name of God knows what. We rewrite history to promote left wing “woke” Communist agendas.
In his great providence God has allowed a great evil to come upon our land. But he has also sent us, also in His great providence, to do something about it. The question is not “Why does God let abortion happen?” The question is, “Why do we let it happen?” WE are to do something about it. What an honor that is, an honor that we accept. We do not accept the situation as lost; we do not hunker down and wait for better days. WE are the Lord’s hands and feet on this earth, and better days rely upon us. St. Augustine said that we should not long for the good old times. We are the times, he said. WE make the times. And that is our mission “to make these the times when life, born and preborn, are considered sacred and respected.
We are in a battle between good and evil, however. So, we must charge the evil sniper’s nests now lodged in the government, the academy, the university, the corporations, the media, and Hollywood, and most sadly, now in the church. We must charge into this battle with joy in our hearts believing that this is the mission that God gave to us.
This is therefore, not just a battle to destroy evil but rather a lifelong campaign to respect the life created by God. It is a service from which there is no release. It is not a short, sharp struggle after which a man can lay aside his arms and rest in peace. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” The temptations of life never cease their search for a chink in the armor of each Christian.
It is a campaign which is good and stirring but also winsome and lovely. We are not soldiers who serve grimly and grudgingly. We serve with knightly chivalry. We are not the slaves of duty, but the servants of joy. We are certain of our cause and in the ultimate triumph of God.
This is what St. John the Baptist did. He was not just a pretty face. Jesus asked the crowds “What did you go to the desert to see—a reed swayed by the wind? Someone dressed in fine garments?” John went out into the desert to prepare for his mission with prayer. When he came out, he heralded the coming of the messiah and told people to repent of their sins. John was no shrinking violet. He scolded the crowds, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruits; as evidence or your repentance…every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Today he would be sent to a reeducation camp by his bishop to repent of his offending the feelings of the people around him. They would have made him write a letter of apology. Or, as happened to John later for scolding Herod for marrying his brother Philips’ wife, imprisoned him.
Zechariah, the father of John, could not speak after having seen a vision as he was serving as priest in the Temple. He was mute until he gave signs for a tablet and wrote on it “His name is John!” We are not mute. We shall never be mute, never be silent. We live at a time when there is arising a kind of State Church or more accurate a state cult with dogmas enforced by local, state and federal governments along with allies in the academy, the media, and corporate America. The powers that be don’t want us to mix politics and religion, yet they are making a religion out of politics. I heard of a candidate for governor in Virginia declare on CBS 19 of Charlottesville: “Listen, we have a Board of [Education] working with local school boards to determine the curriculum for our schools. You don’t want parents coming in every different school jurisdiction saying this is what should be taught here.” Oh, really! Parents pay taxes which pay the salaries of school personnel. School personnel serve the parents. We have already fought a major battle in the founding of this nation about taxation without representation. WE now have another battle. Eternal vigilance.
St. John Paul II said, “Do not be afraid!” We cannot live frozen in fear, lost in nostalgic fantasies, or dissipating our days in distractions, sports, video games, and much else. John had a mission. We have a mission. We too proclaim that the Messiah has come and has changed the world for the better. He came as a conqueror of death. We too come as conquerors of death. Let us not miss the great mission that the Father has sent us on. Let us call upon the Lord to enable us to continue to open our mouths for the voiceless and place our lives on the line in this battle between good and evil, between life and death.
Fr. Jim Hutchins is a retired pastor from The Archdiocese of Philadelphia but very active and currently Chaplain to The Kings Men – http://www.thekingsmen.org – and Emmaus men’s and women’s retreats of New Jersey