Tuesday, August 16, 2016

From the Deep South Deacon; be prepared to be uncomfortable; all for the sake of life

This homily was delivered this past weekend by my deacon classmate, Deacon Paul Augustine.  He truly understands the concept of comforting the afflicted AND afflict the comfortable.  Well researched, no punches pulled, inspired by the Holy Spirit:

Do Not Read This If You Wish To Remain Comfortable In Your Life
The following is a close approximation of the homily  delivered at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Slidell, LA USA on August 14,2016. This is for the 20th Sunday in ordinary time and is base on the readings that can be found at this link.

During the time of the 3rd Reich, Nazis exterminated 6 million Jews and 6 million others “undesirables”. The Nazis seem like choirboys next to Stalinist Soviet Union, who murdered an estimated 20 to 40 million souls

There is a modern country that makes Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany seem like amateurs when it comes to killing.  This country has exterminated 59 million citizens considered “undesirable” including nearly 18 million ethnic and racial minorities. The bodies of these victims are either incinerated like the Nazis did, or disposed as trash.

  As people of faith, we must take a stand against that country.  We cannot be silent, even if speaking up causes divisions in our family. Even if it causes loss of property, status, employment and even puts our lives at risk.

That country is the United States of America, where the lives of 59,000,000 children have been violently and unjustly ended through abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision.

Our modern society tends to reject objective truth, truth which applies to everyone equally. If there is not objective truth, there is no judging behavior.  If it's true for you, that is fine, but whatever you do,  don't impose your truth on me.  Scripture lays out a different path, to accept eternal Truth that is not relative.  Jesus, the Word made flesh says I am the way, the truth”.

  Each of us is encouraged to speak out against moral relativism that has affected and infected virtually every institution including  government, schools, families and even some parts of the Church. We are challenged, like the prophet Jeremiah, to risk our very lives for that truth in an effort to bring others to salvation! Today, I feel a bit like Jeremiah. 

 This is not the homily that I was planning on, but these are the words that I received during adoration in the chapel on Wednesday.

Throughout his life as a prophet, Jeremiah had been a real pain to the leaders of Judah. He was often imprisoned, and finally put to death.  In our first reading today, the princes plot to have Jeremiah killed because he is spouting politically incorrect words.    He predicts the fall of Jerusalem and points out their false worship and sinful ways.  Jeremiah tells the Jews to surrender to the Babylonians or be killed.  In the letter to the Hebrews, Paul exhorts us to persevere against sin and for truth to the point of death, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and lean on him to be our strength.  In the Gospel today Jesus says that he does not come to bring peace but division. He preached the expectation of division even among families where the truth would be accepted by some but not by others.

Here is some objective truth for you to think about. Following media reports, one might think that the greatest risk to life in America is from corrupt police shooting unarmed citizens.  It is not.  In 2013, there were a 341 killings total by police officers, both justified and not.

According to the national political debate, the greatest risk to national safety is either gun violence because of a lack of gun control, or a lack of guns to protect ourselves from armed thugs. Neither is true.  In 2013, just over 11 thousand people died from firearm homicides.   When it comes to illness cancer and heart disease are big killers, each claiming the lives of between 5-600,000 citizens per year.

All of these are certainly terrible. But in the US, by far the most dangerous place to be is a mother’s womb.  It far safer to be a black man pulled over by police, to walk in the worst housing projects, to have AIDS, heart disease or cancer than it is to be an unborn child.  In 2013, we allowed 1.1 million direct abortions.  1.1 million.  Is anyone appalled yet?

How did this happened?  Here is a little history.  In 1930, the Anglican Church broke with 1900 years of Christian teaching and allowed contraception on a limited basis in certain cases.  This was the proverbial opening of Pandora’s Box. Once opened, other denominations started following suit and in the next decades, traditional Christian teachings about love, marriage, sexuality, the family, procreation and the dignity of life have been whittled away.  Christians accepting contraception was the gateway to rampant abortion. Along with the Orthodox, the Catholic Church is the only one to stand firm. Unfortunately, large numbers of Catholics opted to actively dissent against Church teachings relating to human sexuality and follow popular culture.   Many who did not dissent chose to remain silent and be “politically correct” rather than proclaim the truth. Rather than risk offending someone, alienating our family members or maybe endangering our jobs we say absolutely nothing.  Our silence has been our consent.

Let me be clear – this is not a political problem with a political solution. This is the power of darkness vs. the power of light. Lawmakers, presidents, and judges from both major political parties have contributed to this national shame.  And shameful it surely is. History will certainly look back on our generation and judge us to be no less heinous than the slave masters of the pre-Civil War south. Probably much worse.

You might be thinking “I have never had an abortion nor have I ever encouraged anyone to have one. What does this homily have to do with me?”  That may be true.  I am certain that you do not realize this,  but if you have in any way supported the pornography industry, you are indirectly supporting abortion. Do you not think that the stars of this industry become pregnant? What do you think happens to their unborn children? Additionally, pornography reduces women to the level of objects, inanimate things without dignity. And as our porn culture increasingly sees women as objects, how easy is it to see unborn children as “clumps of cells”, a problem to be disposed of?

I am certain that you do not realize this either, but if you in any way support contraception, you are  indirectly supporting abortion.  Remember, Christians accepting contraception was the door that opened our society to this tragedy. The CDC reports that over ½ of the abortions performed in the US were because of failed contraception.

And you may not realize this, but if you ever vote for a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life candidate, you are supporting abortion. Recently Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus said this in a speech to its membership and over 100 Catholic Bishops: 

"What political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation? Abortion is different. Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale. We need to end the political manipulation of Catholic voters by abortion advocates. It is time to end the entanglement of Catholic people with abortion killing. It is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians."

What is your homework? I admit, the assignments this week are extraordinarily difficult. All relate to ways that you personally can contribute to the end of human abortion. If you need help, I will be glad to assist you as I know any of our priests and other deacons will be willing also. My email address and cell phone number are on the St Luke web site. Other than redoubling our prayer efforts’, and no longer remain silent about this great evil here are some specific actions for you to consider:

  • ·       If you in any way support, use, dispense or sell contraceptives, stop. Now.
  • ·       If you in any way support, use, dispense, or sell pornographic material, stop. Now.
  • ·       If you want to remain a Catholic in good standing, when you go to vote, you can never again support a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life candidate.  Ever.
  • ·       If you can in anyway provide support to an expectant mother, married or not, whether through a crisis pregnancy center or directly out of your checking account, do it. Most women who have abortions do not do it because they hate their children; they do it because society accepts it and they see no other way out.  Help them.

Hopefully I have made this clear. Abortion is the defining moral issue of our generation.

 In closing, I quote from the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.   These rights are listed in there order of priority.   Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Without Life, there can be no Liberty, without Liberty - to follow the Truth, there can be no Happiness.

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