Sunday, January 22, 2017

By His Sacrifice

For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.  Hebrews 9:24-26

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house.  Mark 3:24-27

Jesus, help us to follow you in your “craziness.”

Two realities collide in Mark’s Gospel – the family reality of Jesus’ relationship with his mother and brothers along with the church relationship of Jesus with the scribes and the Pharisees. Jesus seems to have alienated both sides.

Not only does his family consider Jesus to be out of his mind, but also do the Pharisees.  The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” For a man allegedly possessed, Jesus seems pretty level-headed in this exchange. 

When faced with the accusation, Jesus presents a coherent defense refuting the charge and turning the tables (once again) on the accusing Pharisees. Jesus presents the idea that he is here to tie up the “strong man” in order to conquer him (plunder Satan’s house).

The Galilean ministry manifests the power of Jesus to draw people to himself through his teaching and deeds of power.  Some of those deeds are healing the sick and others are forgiving sin.  All facets of that ministry require Jesus to be victorious over Satan in little ways now so that he can be victorious on Easter Sunday when his resurrection presents the ultimate victory over the strong man.  Yet, the skillful debater in chapter three goes silent when brought before Herod. There is a stronger foe he faces.  

Many people read his books or follow his reflections on Facebook and Twitter.  However, recently some have accused Jesuit Fr. James Martin as being in favor of abortion. He took to the electrons and posted this personal manifesto of his whole-hearted commitment to a consistent ethic of life.

Dear friends: Today on this Facebook page, on Twitter and on Instagram, I've read a few people trying to paint me as pro-abortion. This is false.

I am pro-life.

That means that I'm also pro-social justice.

That means that I am not only for the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception, but also for the dignity of the human being until the natural end of life. For life does not end with birth. A person who is truly pro-life is pro all life, pro every stage of life, pro every stage of life for every person. For all life is sacred, because all life is created by God.

That means that I support anything that helps a person live a full, healthy and satisfying life, in every part of the world. So I am for care for the poor, for a living wage, for affordable health care, for adequate housing, for a humane work environment, for equal pay for women, for generous child care, for the support of the aged and the infirm.

That means I support caring for the marginalized among us: the refugee, the migrant, the displaced person, the homeless, the unemployed, the person with disabilities, the single mother, women who are abused, minorities of every kind who are persecuted, and all those who feel left out, mocked, lonely, ignored or frightened.

That means that I am against torture because it is an affront to human dignity. I am against the death penalty, the most serious affront to an adult life. I am against abuse and mistreatment in prisons. I am against war as a way to solve problems.

That means I respect the lives of all creatures, and am therefore for the care of the world in which we live, for the environment in the broadest sense.
That means I am pro-peace, pro-justice, and pro-reconciliation.

The longer I am a Jesuit, the longer I am a priest, the longer I live, and the more I pray and listen and observe, the more convinced I am of the sanctity and beauty of life.

So, yes, I am pro-life. Pro all life.

I hope you are too.


No comments: