(Deu 30:19) I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live
HEADLINE: U.S. bishops emphasize traditional marriage after Supreme Court action
EXPOSITION: Reconciling Man's Free Will with God's Sovereignty
MORE VIA DR. PETER KREEFT: Free Will and Predestination
CATHOLIC ONLINE: Jesus Christ is the Key to Understanding the Meaning of Human Freedom
EXCERPT HOMILY FR. JOSEPH ESPER: We as a nation are just as guilty as ancient Israel in terms of pride, arrogance, and disobedience; in fact, it can be argued that our sin is much greater, for far more has been entrusted to America in the 20th and early 21st centuries than any other society in history. In the 1960s a sly and sinister voice began whispering to our national soul, “All those commandments about sexual morality are outdated and no longer apply; you’re here on earth to have fun and fulfill yourself, not to obey some stupid and unnecessary rules.” As a result, with the coming of the so-called “Sexual Revolution,” there was a wholesale abandonment of traditional morality. Soon the voice was becoming more blatant and insistent: “Contraception and abortion are necessary in order to preserve your sexual freedom; besides, if a woman gets pregnant, it’s not a human being, but only a blob of tissue.” The U.S. Supreme Court, many politicians, and most of our nation’s cultural and intellectual elite, were easily deceived and convinced. Beginning in the 1990s the voice began saying outright, “You have the authority to manipulate and control human life through cloning and embryonic stem cell research and other scientific techniques; after all, if the technology exists, that gives you the right to use it however you want.” Once again, our society has fallen into the temptation to play God; we are trying to seize for ourselves something that has been entrusted to us, but which does not belong to us.
Jesus asks us, “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” The chief priests and elders of the people knew the answer—but do we? Over
1 million abortions are committed in our country each year, with many millions more occurring through the use of certain types of contraception. In light of this, and considering our society’s high levels of crime and violence, can we seriously claim that 21st century America is still “one nation under God,” or believe that we, unlike every previous generation, will somehow be exempt from Divine Justice? How is it possible that so many supposedly intelligent people seem to believe there will be no consequences for abusing, tampering with, or destroying God’s gift of life?
Unlike the poor man who chose to remain honest instead of digging up his neighbors’ treasure, we as a nation have given into the temptation of seizing something that doesn’t belong to us; we are trying to usurp God’s unique authority over human life. However, even though the hour is late, there is still time for repentance—if those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus take the lead. Our prayers and sacrifices, our use of the opportunities we’re given to influence others, our support of the Right to Life Movement, our unyielding acceptance and defense of Catholic morality and teaching on life issues, and our commitment to vote only for political candidates pledged to defend human life, can still make a difference; our efforts to help America repent and again acknowledge God’s divine authority can once more draw down His blessings upon our land. St. Paul urges us in the 2nd Reading to think about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, [and] whatever is pure”—and today’s observance of Respect Life Sunday is the Church’s attempt to help America do just that. If we truly love God, we’ll try to center our lives around His Will—and if we truly love our country, we’ll do our part in helping America repent of its sins against human life and dignity, and instead return to the ways of humility, obedience, and righteousness.
The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion
83. A hermit said, "if you do anything according to self-will, and not according to God's will, you can afterwards return to the Lord's way, if you did it in ignorance. But whoever obeys self-will and not God's, and refuses to listen to warnings, but claims to know best, he will scarcely be able to come back to the Lord's way.'
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