Monday, July 18, 2016

Come Now, Let Us Set Things Right

With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:6-8

At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.” Matthew 12:41-42

Let nothing disturb thee
Let nothing dismay thee
All things are changing
God alone is changeless
Patience attains the goal
The one who has God lacks nothing
God alone is enough
By St. Teresa of Avila

Come now, let us set things right.  For thousands of years, people brought burnt offerings to the Lord to set things right.  Micah tells them that is NO LONGER what the Lord wants.  The Divine Order is changing.  All things are changing.  What the Lord now requires of you: “Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” 

Micah picks up the message that Isaiah began to preach and the John the Baptist and Jesus embraced.  “Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”  Isaiah 1:16-17

Add three more assassinations to the roster.  Montrell Jackson.  Matthew Gerald.  Brad Garafola. 

Jesus died because all souls matter…especially sinners, particularly sinners.  All lives. The Pharisees. Peter’s mother-in-law. The Roman centurion. The leper. The man born with the crippled hand. The prostitute.  The woman at the well.  He did not walk around with a sign that said #JewishLivesMatter.  His mercy extended in ALL directions to the ends of the earth.  Jesus also left a little instruction booklet that can be boiled down into two rules: 

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:36-40

Jesus died for all of us because all lives matter.  He also wants us to love each of us and all of us the same way he loves us.  All.  Inclusive.  Do this and we will live.

Let’s consider the Cross the cornerstone and then the Greatest Commandment as the remaining part of the foundation.  The bricks that help us to build up the City of God are the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. 

You can read about all of these teachings here.  However, there is one specific brick that this summer’s debate should examine.  That brick is called the Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable.  A basic moral test of our community is how the most vulnerable members of our society are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our Sacred Scriptures and traditions recall the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46).

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’  And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least of mine, you did for me.’  (Matthew 25:34-40)

There you have it.  Christ and the Church instruct us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. Who is vulnerable here?

If an unarmed person of ANY race is killed by a police officer, people should be upset no matter what the victim’s race.  We, however, cannot let the log in our eye blind us to the fact that we have a responsibility to exert a preferential option for those who are most at risk be that risk cancer, poverty, HIVB/AIDS or gun violence. 

Blessed be those who are killed by guns at a rate that is 2.5 to 5 times more than the rest of the population. If Isaiah or Micah or Jesus were here, they would likely say, Come Now, Let Us Set Things Right.”

No comments: