Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Birth of the Prophets and Martyrs

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him. But he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the law to become void. Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery"(Luke 16:13-18).

This passage from Luke comes after the parable of the worldly steward and before the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. At first appearance it looks like the author was stringing together some unrelated quotes from Jesus. What does love of money, entering the kingdom of God violently, the law not passing away, and divorce have to do with one another?

The Pharisees preferred the appearance of being holy to actually being holy. The temple taxes imposed and the cheating of the people by the money changers who took the money for the cost of the animal of sacrifice were found "abominable" by Jesus. The writing of a bill of divorce by a man to his wife leaving his wife and children in poverty, while the man would go off and attempt marriage with another was abominable in the sight of God. The killing of the Prophets who witnessed to God's Law was an abomination. Love of Mammon (power, money, social status, convenience, infidelity, etc ...)is the opposite of Love of God (humility, gratitude, fidelity, service, justice, mercy, etc...).

Blessed Jose Escriva quoted in the Navarre Bible Commentary says that the entering of the kingdom of God through violence has to do with violence against the things of world, the flesh, and the devil within us. "It is a violence used to fight your own infidelities, a boldness to own up to the faith even when the environment is hostile...This is the attitude of those who fight their passions and do themselves violence, thereby attaining the Kingdom of heaven and becoming one with Christ" (The Navarre Bible: Matthew, p 114). (The commentary for Luke refers one over to the Matthean commentary.)

Jesus also said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Mk 8:34). To be a disciple is to be able to be crucified with Christ and live so that "now not I but Christ lives within me" (Gal. 2:20). To live with Christ is to die to greed, lust, pride, infidelity, uncharitableness, etc... Jesus calls us to death to selfishness so we may have life in His and thus our selflessness.

It is not likely that we will be put to death for witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will go through the martyrdom of self denial if we are going to be part of God's kingdom. Sin must be aborted from our lives if we are to have rebirth in the Spirit, the Blood and the Water. "For whatever overcomes the world is born of God" (1 Jn. 5:4a).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Divorce as the source of abortion

"Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mt 19:4-6).

The fruit of a covenantal relationship with God is Jesus Christ and thus our salvation through being born again of the Spirit and water. The fruit of a covenantal relationship with our spouse is children when God chooses to bless us with them.

In the divorce of Adam and Eve from God's way and the resulting abortion from Eden, spiritual death brought about the natural consequence of physical death--the divorce of the soul and the body. The abortion of Cain's soul took place in his conception in sin and the consequence of his being ripped from the womb of original justice and innocence was the murder of his brother Abel. God still walked among men even after the fall and Cain still had a choice to do good as Abel did, but Cain's pride and jealously were the seeds of his and his brother's destruction.

When a man and a woman divorce from each other, the third person formed in their communion of love, the child, is effected in a very real and horrible way. The incarnation of the parents' love is ripped apart inside. The one flesh of their parents is put asunder and so is their heart. The children are spiritually and emotionally aborted by the very selfish act of divorce. Their lives are literally ripped apart on many levels.

It also follows that when sexual intercourse is divorced from marriage for only recreational use, physical abortions of unwanted preborn human beings take place. When the unitive and procreative purposes of marriage are divorced in the sexual act, the salvific purpose is aborted. Artificial contraception enters into many marriages because of ignorance on one level and a deep mistrust of God's providence on another. People who are in uncommitted, fornicative relationships are more likely to abort their children.

Women don't want children or men don't want children; one does and the other doesn't. The women don't feel like they have any "choice" except abortion because there is no support from the man or there is pressure from the man to kill the offspring unintended by their selfish use of each other. The reasons go on and on why people kill their own children, but the main reason is sin. Sin defined as a divorce of a human being's will from the Divine Will is the cause of all abortion: analogical, spiritual, and physical.

Despite our sinfulness, there is a loving God who will even now take us back to himself as Hosea kept taking back Gomer. Also in the book of Joel God declares his love for us. Even now if you return to God will all your heart and rend your hearts and not your garments...God will save us and take us back. He will heal our abortiveness and forgive all our iniquities.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Assumption Day

The Assumption is not only Mary's being taken into heaven body and soul by her Son Jesus. It is her resurrection. Since Mary had no stain of original sin and she never committed personal sin there was no reason for her to die. She probably would have suffered death only to perfectly imitate her Son.

The psalm says, "You will not let your beloved know decay." This I interpret to mean both Jesus'Resurrection and the resurrection of Mary. In the case of Mary it points to her beginning, her Immaculate Conception in the womb of St. Anne. It also points to her falling asleep incorruptible and being awakened by her Son to be taken to heaven body and soul, dwelling in everlasting glory. There are numerous saints who have been granted an incorruptible body after their soul has departed. These signal graces point to the bodily resurrection of the dead.

After so much death in the twentieth century by 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed as dogma that Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul at the end of her earthly life. I heard someone say once that he did this to offer hope to a beleaguered and despairing world. A world that has seen so much death and destruction of innocent people needs to believe in world without end.

Mary our hope,
ora pro nobis!