Pope Francis: One Cannot Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Without the Tangible Witness of One’s Life

POPE FRANCIS facebook

Pope Francis preached another wonderful homily when he celebrated Mass today. 

This pastoral Pope seems to understand us. He is able to preach to us in a way that reaches into our lives and tells us directly how to follow Jesus as we wend our way through life.

His homilies are shot through with theology, but it’s theology that doesn’t announce itself. The Holy Father is able to teach and preach theology in a real-world way that his listeners can comprehend and take home with them to live out. 

Today’s homily was another of this type. Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? he asks.

We should all ask ourselves: Do I have the courage … to think, to choose, and to live as a Christian, obedient to God? One cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life.

In other words, Preach Christ. If necessary, use words. 

Or 

You’ve got to walk the walk before you can talk the talk. 

The Pope also talked a good bit about the need for worship instead of just asking God for things and then thanking Him. 

I’ve pulled out a few quotes, which I will put below. I also will give you a chance to read the full homily for yourself. 

Read it and be blessed. 

Pope francis soft smile

Peter and the other Apostles. In response to the order to be silent, no longer to teach in the name of Jesus, no longer to proclaim his message, they respond clearly: “We must obey God, rather than men”. 

And they remain undeterred even when flogged, ill-treated and imprisoned. Peter and the Apostles proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? 

Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what he represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives?

… we all have to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel.

We should all ask ourselves:

How do I bear witness to Christ through my faith? Do I have the courage of Peter and the other Apostles, to think, to choose and to live as a Christian, obedient to God?

Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life.

Worship 1

Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? 

 worshipping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that he is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history. 

This has a consequence in our lives: we have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge, on which we often seek to base our security. They are idols that we sometimes keep well hidden; they can be ambition, a taste for success, placing ourselves at the centre, the tendency to dominate others, the claim to be the sole masters of our lives, some sins to which we are bound, and many others.

I would like a question to resound in the heart of each one of you, and I would like you to answer it honestly: Have I considered which idol lies hidden in my life that prevents me from worshipping the Lord? 

Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the centre, as the highway of our lives.

Pope francis

Pope Francis: St Paul’s homily (full text)


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday evening in the Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. Proclamation, witness, and worship were the three key ideas on which Pope Francis focused in his homily, with especial emphasis on those who suffer for their witness to the Faith. Below, please find the full text of his homily, in English.

******************************************

Dear Brothers and Sisters!
It is a joy for me to celebrate Mass with you in this Basilica. I greet the Archpriest, Cardinal James Harvey, and I thank him for the words that he has addressed to me. Along with him, I greet and thank the various institutions that form part of this Basilica, and all of you. We are at the tomb of Saint Paul, a great yet humble Apostle of the Lord, who proclaimed him by word, bore witness to him by martyrdom and worshipped him with all his heart. These are the three key ideas on which I would like to reflect in the light of the word of God that we have heard: proclamation, witness, worship.

      In the First Reading, what strikes us is the strength of Peter and the other Apostles. In response to the order to be silent, no longer to teach in the name of Jesus, no longer to proclaim his message, they respond clearly: “We must obey God, rather than men”. And they remain undeterred even when flogged, ill-treated and imprisoned. Peter and the Apostles proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what he represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives? Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.

 

        But let us take a further step: the proclamation made by Peter and the Apostles does not merely consist of words: fidelity to Christ affects their whole lives, which are changed, given a new direction, and it is through their lives that they bear witness to the faith and to the proclamation of Christ.
        In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times to feed his flock, to feed it with his love, and he prophesies to him: “When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go” (Jn 21:18). These words are addressed first and foremost to those of us who are pastors: we cannot feed God’s flock unless we let ourselves be carried by God’s will even where we would rather not go, unless we are prepared to bear witness to Christ with the gift of ourselves, unreservedly, not in a calculating way, sometimes even at the cost of our lives.
        But this also applies to everyone: we all have to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel. We should all ask ourselves: How do I bear witness to Christ through my faith? Do I have the courage of Peter and the other Apostles, to think, to choose and to live as a Christian, obedient to God?
        To be sure, the testimony of faith comes in very many forms, just as in a great fresco, there is a variety of colours and shades; yet they are all important, even those which do not stand out. In God’s great plan, every detail is important, even yours, even my humble little witness, even the hidden witness of those who live their faith with simplicity in everyday family relationships, work relationships, friendships. There are the saints of every day, the “hidden” saints, a sort of “middle class of holiness” to which we can all belong.
        But in different parts of the world, there are also those who suffer, like Peter and the Apostles, on account of the Gospel; there are those who give their lives in order to remain faithful to Christ by means of a witness marked by the shedding of their blood. Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life.
      Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God! Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility.
        But all this is possible only if we recognize Jesus Christ, because it is he who has called us, he who has invited us to travel his path, he who has chosen us.
        Proclamation and witness are only possible if we are close to him, just as Peter, John and the other disciples in today’s Gospel passage were gathered around the Risen Jesus; there is a daily closeness to him: they know very well who he is, they know him.
        The Evangelist stresses the fact that “no one dared ask him: ‘Who are you?’ – they knew it was the Lord” (Jn 21:12). This is important for us: living an intense relationship with Jesus, an intimacy of dialogue and of life, in such a way as to recognize him as “the Lord”, and to worship him.
        The passage that we heard from the Book of Revelation speaks to us of worship: the myriads of angels, all creatures, the living beings, the elders, prostrate themselves before the Throne of God and of the Lamb that was slain, namely Christ, to whom be praise, honour and glory (cf. Rev 5:11-14).
        I would like all of us to ask ourselves this question: You, I, do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? It means learning to be with him, it means that we stop trying to dialogue with him, and it means sensing that his presence is the most true, the most good, the most important thing of all.
        All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshipping the Lord means giving him the place that he must have; worshipping the Lord means stating, believing – not only by our words – that he alone truly guides our lives; worshipping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that he is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.


This has a consequence in our lives: we have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge, on which we often seek to base our security. They are idols that we sometimes keep well hidden; they can be ambition, a taste for success, placing ourselves at the centre, the tendency to dominate others, the claim to be the sole masters of our lives, some sins to which we are bound, and many others.
This evening I would like a question to resound in the heart of each one of you, and I would like you to answer it honestly: Have I considered which idol lies hidden in my life that prevents me from worshipping the Lord? Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the centre, as the highway of our lives.
Dear brothers and sisters, each day the Lord calls us to follow him with courage and fidelity; he has made us the great gift of choosing us as his disciples; he sends us to proclaim him with joy as the Risen one, but he asks us to do so by word and by the witness of our lives, in daily life. The Lord is the only God of our lives, and he invites us to strip ourselves of our many idols and to worship him alone. May the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Paul help us on this journey and intercede for us.

 

Join the Discussions of the Year of Faith

Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.

Dominican Sisters Hear about the Election of Pope Francis

While rehearsing for a new album (which will be coming out this summer) the Dominican Sisters hear that there is white smoke …

YouTube Preview Image

Come Kneel Before Him Now

This is a Eucharistic flash mob. I wonder what the response to this would be in one of our malls; or on the Mall in Washington DC, or any number of public places.

Here in Oklahoma, we have so few Catholics, it might just lead to confused stares and dome scratching from all the Southern Baptists. :-)

 

YouTube Preview Image

Pope Francis: Do Not Get Into this Game of a Life of Complaints

Stop complaining


Pope Francis gave a homily at morning mass a few days ago that hits this lady right between the eyes. 

It was about one of my favorite hobbies: Complaining. 

My husband and I sometimes joke about a former member of the Oklahoma House that we both know. If you gave this guy a check for a million dollars all he would do is gripe about the taxes. One of my husband’s jokes is that you can walk outside with this guy and remark that it’s a beautiful day and he would reply, “Yeah, but that makes for darn dark nights.”

I’m not in this man’s league when it comes to complaining and looking on the dark side, but I do have more than a small dose of the same disease. It can seem that focusing on the bad that might happen is a way to ward off disappointment when it really does happen. But in truth, all it does is ruin the good times you’re having now. If something bad happens, worrying about it ahead of time won’t make it hurt one bit less.

As for complaining, you can beat people down with too many complaints. You can blight their happiness and take away their joy. Constant complaining dampens initiative and makes people feel helpless when they’re not. You can push them down to their emotional knees and them hold them there with your carping and complaining and hand-wringing and whining.

Debbiedowner

I once knew a woman who was never able to just say “Thank you.” If her husband worked all day painting the house for her, when he was finished she would look at it and say, “We really need to re-seed the lawn” She didn’t mean to be a Debbie downer. In fact, I don’t think she knew what she was doing. It was habitual; something she probably learned as a child. But how sad for her that she wasted so many good moments by focusing on the negative, and how destructive to her relationships that she complained when she should have been complimenting.

This is where Pope Francis’ homily comes in. He preached on the Gospel story from St Luke about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. These men were bereft and broken-hearted because of Jesus’ death on the cross. I have not been able to find the full homily on the Vatican web site. But here are a few quotes that resonated with me:

“And they stewed, so to speak, their lives in the juice of their complaints and kept going on and on and on with the complaining,” the pope said. “I think that many times when difficult things happen, including when we are visited by the cross, we run the risk of closing ourselves off in complaints.”

When all people can think of is how wrong things are going, Pope Francis said, the Lord is close, “but we don’t recognize him. He walks with us, but we don’t recognize him.”

Like the disciples joined by the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus, people can hear beautiful things, but deep down, they continue to be afraid, the pope said.

“Complaining seems safer. It’s something certain. This is my truth: failure,” he said.

But the Gospel story shows how very patient Jesus is with the disciples, first listening to them and then explaining things step by step, until they see him.

“Jesus does this with us, too,” the pope said. “Even in the darkest moments, he is always with us, walking with us.”

Complaining and griping — about others and about things in one’s own life — is harmful “because it dashes hope. Don’t get into this game of a life of complaints,” he said.

“Do not get into this game of a life of complaints.”

I need to print that out and put it on my bathroom mirror. The Holy Father is exactly right when he says that “when we are visited by the cross, we run the risk of closing ourselves off in complaints.” At least, he certainly is about me. My most public cross has been the many attacks I’ve endured for being a pro life Catholic Democratic elected official.

When I speak of deliberate slander and character assassination for gain, I am describing what was done to me.

Pick up your cross

instead of remembering that Jesus told us to “rejoice and be glad when men say all manner of evil against you falsely on my account,” I complained and whined and focused on my hurt and anger. “Great is your reward in heaven,” Jesus told us, but I concentrated on how much it hurt me at the time.

Pope Francis’ words cut right across my own behavior like a giant x mark. God gave me the opportunity to suffer just a little bit for Jesus, and for the babies. It was never a punishment. It was always a gift. I saw that some of the time. But far too often, I looked right past the honor of taking a hit for Jesus to my own anguish about how much it hurt.

Part of stepping out in faith means laying aside our complaints about the way the world reacts to us when we do it. In truth, when they attack us and revile us for standing for Jesus, they are handing us the Kingdom of Heaven. 

If we can just remember that, we’ll realize that there is nothing for us to complain about.

 

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus Christ

UPDATE: Gonzaga’s President Will Review Knights of Columbus’ Application for University Recognition

Gonzaga University’s president Thayne McCulloh, announced that he will “review” the decision to deny recognition to the Knights of Columbus at the school.

According to the Gonzaga web site, this review is expect to take 30-45 days, which means it will probably come down after the academic year is finished.

That seems like a long time to review something that should, by all rights, be a slam dunk.

This is the web site of the University’s board of regents. If they operate the way boards of regents do here in Oklahoma, they hire and fire the university president and must approve hiring of senior staff. They would also approve the school’s budget, tuition structure and policies.

Here is a copy of the statement from the Gonzaga website:

Proposed Knights of Columbus Student Club

STATEMENT FROM GONZAGA UNIVERSITY ON THE ISSUE OF OFFICIAL
RECOGNITION OF PROPOSED KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS STUDENT GROUP

Gonzaga University’s Student Life division recently issued a decision that it could not recognize a proposed Knights of Columbus student club under its current club recognition process.  The University is concerned that all of the factors involved in this decision have not been represented in their entirety, and thus may be misunderstood.

Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh states that Gonzaga honors and respects the purpose and good works of the Knights of Columbus, with which it has a long tradition and mutual collaboration at both local and state levels.  The Knights of Columbus College Council (#12583) is already present within the student body and receives support from the administration.  Gonzaga University’s core Catholic and Jesuit identity recognizes, encourages and supports many student organizations that advance faith-related issues (for example, Gonzaga Right to Life, and the Blessed John Paul II Fellowship).

President McCulloh has received a request from the sponsoring student to review the institution’s decision regarding the recognition of the organization as a student club, and has decided to undertake this review.  The review is expected to take 30-45 days.

The Last Wagon Train for the Marriage Gold Rush

Wagontrain You’d think it was the last wagon leaving for the gold rush.

Politicians are hopping off traditional marriage and jumping on board the gay marriage band wagon as fast as their fat little feet will carry them.

It’s been kind of fun for me,  watching them step up to the mike and explain how god (little g,) evolution, their philosophical understanding and reasoning abilities, as well as family and friends have finally made them come to this secular jesus (little j) and get turned around facing forward at last.

All this time when they were campaigning based on their support for traditional marriage it seems that they were just deluded by a lack of … ummm … evolution? … brainpower? … moral gravitas? … oh you know, the bloomin’ polls were the other way and you gotta do what you gotta do to win the election.

They tell us that their long soul searching has finally come to an end. They are now persuaded by their own evolving natures, “their” god (little g), their philosophy and highly questionable reasoning abilities, etc, that now is the time for them to make this brave stand. The day has come for them to go along with the crowd (once again) on gay marriage and reverse the position they took previously. Having dusted off 2,000 years of Western civilization with their profound moral gravitas, it’s time for them to get back to standing their ground on all those other issues.

Which they will do.

You can trust them.

Until the poll numbers change.

One problem with governing by the polls is that you never know what you believe until you get up in the morning and check to see the latest numbers. Another problem with governing by the polls is that nobody else knows what you think, either.

Liar liar ver1

Marriage is a fundamental kind of thing. If whole groups of politicians can just flip over on marriage like a bunch of flap jacks, why should we believe them about other promises they make?

These aren’t children. The young ones are middle-aged. Their ways should be fixed.

I wouldn’t be making this judgement if it was just one lone ranger who stood up and announced in a quavery voice that his gay brother wouldn’t eat Christmas dinner with him unless he changed his stand on the issue. I would never object to anything that smacked of authenticity and an honest reappraisal of the issue. That’s life. And life happens to all people, including elected officials.

When a politician steps out there alone and does something like this, it usually betokens guts and some sort of genuine change of heart. The price of making a move like this all by yourself can be enormous and no one would do it lightly.

But that is not what is happening here. What they are giving us are canned little speeches that sound like they came from a liars template shop.

“I evolved. I prayed. I want people to be happy. My family/friends/gay staffers told me to. Civil rights.”

They say these things like someone reading the slip from a fortune cookie. It is soooo obvious that they don’t believe what they are saying. It is equally obvious that they also don’t much care if we believe it. This is just another bit of work they’ve got to cross off their to dos before they go to the reception and on to dinner with the boys.

They don’t care that no one with half a brain is going to buy these twice-told tales they tell. They just want to get it over and done so they can go back to doing whatever it is they do when they’re not balancing the budget and not getting this country out of an endless round of meaningless wars and not taking care of the industrial drain or finding jobs for the jobless recovery or any other useful thing that I can see.

They are the same balding pieces of work they were before they “evolved,” or god (little g) spotlighted them like a deer and told them to go forth and overturn 2,000 years of Christian teaching, or they realized that people need to be happy, or their family/friends/gay staffers finally got their attention, or they had some sort of bizarro epiphany about “civil rights.” They’re the same phony-baloney political opportunists they were when they told us they supported traditional marriage.

The polls told them what to say then, and the polls are telling them what to say now.

Stampede

I know I sound harsh, but it’s difficult to be mild when I see such obvious, in-your-face, flat-out and unapologetic lying to the American people. What we are witnessing is a herd crossing of the political Rubicon that home and family represent in Western society. Once it’s done, we — and by that I mean our society and our future as a nation and a people — will never be the same again.

This is not about evolving or family or civil rights. It most certainly is not about Christian faith. It is about perceived political expediency.

The assumption seems to be that the people in their districts will overlook this as they have so many other things and re-elect them like slot machines come election time. It may work. The American people are so overburdened with the multiple traumas bad governance and a deconstructing society have pushed onto them that they no longer respond like free people.

“What can we do?” they say. “Nobody listens anyway.”

Kingdom of God

My advice to anyone who feels disheartened by all this callous gamesmanship on the part of our elected officials is to remember that while we are indeed citizens of the USA, we are also citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Here, right now, we are already citizens of that Kingdom.

Our first loyalty and our only center has to be that Kingdom coming. Our jobs as citizens of this world is to be the leaven of the Kingdom.

Our faith never was and never should be in politicians. Our faith is in Jesus Christ. It does not matter to us at all what the polls say. We follow Christ and He never changes.

Do not let a few stupid politicians who foolishly follow polls instead of God Almighty drive you to despair. Absolutely do not let them wear down your commitment to keep on speaking for the truth of the Gospels and doing the right thing.

As for this charge for the last wagon leaving for the gold rush, it is a rush to the fool’s gold of fleeting popular opinion. Before you can say “I told you so,” it will come rushing back, going the other way.

Your job right now is to make sure that you, for one, do not get on it.

Church of England Goes Thumbs Down on Blessing Gay Marriages

Queen elizabeth at easter services

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip at Easter Services 2013


The Church of England issued a report today in which it states that it will not support the blessing of gay marriages.

The report says in part:

… ‘marriage is a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace. Marriage, defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman, is central to the stability and health of human society. It continues to provide the best context for the raising of children.’

 the sexual differentiation of men and women is a gift of God, who ‘created humankind in his image… male and female he created them’. It is on male and female that God gives his blessing, which is to be seen not only in procreation but in human culture, too (Genesis 1.27-8).

In calling it a gift of God, we mean that it is not simply a cultural development (though it has undergone much cultural development) nor simply a political or economic institution (though often embedded in political and economic arrangements).

It is an expression of the human nature which God has willed for us and which we share. And although marriage may fall short of God’s purposes in many ways and be the scene of many human weaknesses, it receives the blessing of God and is included in his judgment that creation is ‘very good’ (Genesis 1.31).

In calling it a gift of God in creation, we view marriage within its wider life-context: as an aspect of human society and as a structure of life that helps us shape our journey from birth to death. 

Lord george carey

This report from the Church of England comes after former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, issued a stinging op-ed rebuke to the Prime Minister and the whole movement that is pushing for gay marriage.

Recent polls indicate that “more than two-thirds of (British) Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority,” he wrote, ” … the prime minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.”

Lord Carey’s op-ed piece goes on to note that the Equalities Minister, Helen Grant, “recently gave her support to the Labour MP Chris Bryant’s campaign to turn the 700-year-old chapel of St Mary Undercroft into a multi-faith prayer room so that gay couples can get married there.”

It’s a powerful piece. I will put an excerpt below with a link so you can read it all. If you follow the link above, you can read the entire document that the Church of England issued today. It is titled “Men and Women and Marriage.”

I’m going to write more about this Friday, but it appears that British Christians are starting to come awake. From the news coverage I’ve read, the British press is almost as biased in favor of gay marriage as the American press. Some of the comments I read were completely over the top for anyone who claims to be a professional journalist.

All of us who follow Christ need to support and help one another. Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Southern Baptist, Evangelical — it doesn’t matter. We need to stand on the Gospel principles we share and refuse to be moved. We also need to aid and help one another, including emotionally, as we go through the waters ahead.

Union jack

Here, from the Daily Mail, is Lord Carey’s op-ed piece:

I like David Cameron and believe he is genuinely sincere in his desire to make Britain a generous nation where we care for one another and where people of faith may exercise their beliefs fully.


But it was a bit rich to hear that the Prime Minister has told religious leaders that they should ‘stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation’ when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way.


At his pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders, he said that he supported Christians’ right to practise their faith. Yet many Christians doubt his sincerity. According to a new ComRes poll more than two-thirds of Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority’.

Their fears may be exaggerated because few in the UK are actually persecuted, but the Prime Minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.


He seems to have forgotten in spite of his oft-repeated support for the right of Christians to wear the cross, that lawyers acting for the Coalition argued only months ago in the Strasbourg court that those sacked for wearing a cross against their employer’s wishes should simply get another job.


More shockingly, the Equalities Minister, Helen Grant, recently gave her support to the Labour MP Chris Bryant’s campaign to turn the 700-year-old Parliamentary chapel of St Mary Undercroft into a multi-faith prayer room so that gay couples can get married there. The Speaker of the House of Commons is reported to be supportive of the move.


Now, there are many questions that we need to ask. If this means the removal of Christian symbols from the chapel to accommodate all faiths and even humanist ceremonies this would amount to changing the chapel fundamentally, even to banishing the Christian faith from the seat of political power. This would have implications for Her Majesty, the Queen, and could place her in a very difficult position as the chapel is a Royal Peculiar under her direct patronage.


As David Cameron knows, I am very suspicious that behind the plans to change the nature of marriage, which come before the House of Lords soon, there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society together for time immemorial.


Pope Francis: The Struggle to Reject Gossip

Pope francis hugging disabled child


Pope Francis is a priest.

That sounds like an absurdly redundant statement. Of course he’s a priest. But I’m not talking about the collar and the black clothes. I’m not even referring, for the moment, to the fact that he is one of those men whose life work it is to gift the world with the sacraments. From priests’ hands we receive the Eucharist.

I don’t mean that right now. I am referring to the fact that Pope Francis is a pastor of souls. He is the good shepherd we’ve been given. Not all priests are pastors of souls. Some are more turned to other things that can range from mysticism to a flair for administration. None of these things are bad. In fact, taken together, they give us the whole of the faith.

But pastors of souls, true shepherds of God’s people, are what Jesus specifically mentioned when He commissioned Peter. “Feed my sheep,” he said. 

I am beginning to look forward to the reports each day coming out of Pope Francis’ morning homilies. These homilies are deeply pastoral, dealing as they often do with ordinary sins and vices, daily weaknesses and challenges, that every Christian faces. He gave a homily this morning on complaining. When Vatican radio posts it, I’ll put it here for you to read.

Today, I’m going to share one of his previous homilies. This one is about gossip.

Gossip norman rockwell1

Gossip is such a common vice. Everyone does it. People are interested in other people. We live with, love, cherish, compete with, hate and hurt one another. For most of us, our whole world is other people. Walk through any cemetery, and what you will see on the gravestones are words linking the dead person to relationships with the living. Beloved Father, Dearest Mom, Sister, Brother, Son and Daughter; that’s what we inscribe on the stones we leave to mark the fact that there was a life here, a life lived in relationship with other people.

We know ourselves through other people. Most of what we think of ourselves comes from what they tell us. They are the mirror we have for our selves and our lives.

Which is precisely what gives gossip its power. Idle chit-chat gossip is usually harmless, and can even be kind. But the darker kind of tale-telling that involves dwelling on people’s faults and criticizing their weaknesses can hurt. If it gets to the point that it becomes a group judgement, it can inflict deep wounds. I am not talking here about deliberate calumny and character assassination for gain. That is an obvious, terrible and mortal sin; the kind of thing you can go to hell for.

What I am talking about is the picking and pecking away at another person to the point that the whole group of people they associate with — be it family, classmates or co-workers — makes a kind of group assessment of them and fixes it on them. Gossiping about someone in this way is almost always unkind. Fixating on them in some small and critical way is cruel. When a group of people they have to associate with decides through gossip that this is what they are, it is destructive.

It wounds the person who is the object of the gossip. It dirties the souls of those who engage in this gossip. It damages the harmony and happiness of the group or community which has allowed this to happen to itself.

Gossip hurts people. It fractures community and damages the ability of people to work together for a goal. Whether that goal is a happy home life or building a bridge, gossip can make achieving it a hard and thankless slog.

If we are truly born again into a new way of living and thinking, then gossip that wounds can not be a part of us. The ultimate harm of gossip is that it separates us from who we are meant to be in Christ. It not only weakens our witness for Him, it weakens our relationship with Him.

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who have been made in God’s likeness,” James tells us.

I need to remember that as much as anyone else. When it comes to gossip, I think almost everyone could take a good look at themselves. Let’s consider what the Holy Father had to say about it.

Pope francis soft smile

From Vatican Radio:

(Vatican Radio) May the Holy Spirit bring peace to Christian communities and teach its members to be meek, refusing to speak ill of others. With this hope, Pope Francis concluded his homily at Mass Tuesday morning with staff from the Vatican medical services and office staff of the Vatican City Government. “The first Christian community is a timeless model for the Christian community of today, because they were of one heart and one soul, through the Holy Spirit who had brought them into a “new life”. Emer McCarthy reports: RealAudioMP3 

In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel passage that recounts the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, who did not immediately grasp how a man can be “born again”. Through the Holy Spirit, the Pope said, we are born into the new life which we have received in Baptism.” However, Pope Francis added, it is a life that has to be developed, it does not come automatically. We have to do all we can to ensure that our life develops into new life”, which may be “a laborious journey” but one that “depends chiefly on the Holy Spirit” as well as our ability to be “open to his breath”.

And this, the Pope pointed out, is exactly what happened to the early Christians. They had “new life”, which was expressed in their living with one heart and one soul. They had, he said, “that unity, that unanimity, that harmony of feeling of love, mutual love …”. A dimension that needs to be rediscovered. He noted that today, for example, the aspect of “meekness in the community,” is a somewhat ‘forgotten virtue’. Meekness is stigmatized, it has “many enemies”, the first of which is gossip. 

Pope Francis further developed this reflection. “When we prefer to gossip, gossip about others, criticize others- these are everyday things that happen to everyone, including me – these are the temptations of the evil one who does not want the Spirit to come to us and bring about peace and meekness in the Christian community”. “These struggles always exist” in the parish, in the family, in the neighborhood, among friends”. Instead through the Spirit we are born into a new life, he makes us “meek, charitable.”

The Holy Father then outlined the correct behavior for a Christian. First, “do not judge anyone” because “the only Judge is the Lord.” Then “keep quiet” and if you have something to say, say it to the interested parties, to those “who can remedy the situation,” but “not to the entire neighborhood.” “If, by the grace of the Holy Spirit – concluded Pope Francis – we succeed in never gossiping, it will be a great step forward” and “will do us allgood”.

 

Gendercide in India

 

Gendercide.

Sex-selected abortion.

The “problem” is as old as misogyny, which is to say, it goes back to the day we were cast out of the garden. Baby boys are wanted all over the world, baby girls, not so much.

Christianity has always stood against killing babies. It has always opposed taking the life of any innocent person, including that most innocent of persons, the baby in the womb. There are no exceptions in Christianity which allow people to kill their baby girls, either born or unborn. Killing a baby girl is murder. Murder is a mortal sin. Unrepented and unforgiven, murdering a baby girl will send you to hell for eternity.

I am deliberately using stark language because I think we dress things up a bit too much sometimes. In our zeal to keep the peace and not offend, we weaken the message until it loses its meaning.

Gendercide is just a fancy way of saying mass murder of baby girls by means of abortion. Sex-selected abortion is just another way of saying misogyny. It is blood-soaked sin that will send everyone involved straight to eternal hell.

India is one of the places where sex-selected abortion has become a means of satisfying the demand for boys. China is another such place. Explanations focus on dowries, care for elderly parents and the religious rites that only a son can perform.

It will interesting to see what effect the persecuted, but growing, Christian population of India will have on this situation over time. Among other things, I imagine that they will be the ones who end up having enough girls to sustain their culture.

The following video discusses the murder of India’s daughters by their own parents with what must, as a practical necessity, be the  collusion of much of the rest of Indian society.

YouTube Preview Image

Abortion is Everything. Women — or At Least Baby Women — Are Nothing.

Girl dog ice cream

Oklahoma passed a law against sex-selected abortions, a few years back. 

When we did, the bill was opposed by … “pro choice” advocates claiming they speak for “women’s rights,” including, of course, representatives from Planned Parenthood. 

Imagine my lack of surprise when I learned that Planned Parenthood is, once again, opposing a bill that is against sex selected abortions. I would guess that you know this, but in case you don’t, misogyny has long included a willingness to kill baby girls. In the days before Christ, it was a commonplace in much of the world to “expose” baby girls. What that means, basically, is toss them out and let them die from exposure, hunger, thirst, wild animals, etc.

Christians, with their stubborn insistence on the worth of every human being, ended this by the simple facility of refusing to do it themselves, going out and rescuing these little girls and raising them, and, of course, by condemning the practice in a manner that today would be called “judging.” It took time, but the practice of dumping baby girls along with the household refuse stopped. This has been true everywhere Christianity is embraced.

It’s taken two long millennia, but the practice of baby girl killing is rearing its ugly head once again in the so-called Christian world. The manner and means of accomplishing this slaughter is two-fold: Identifying that an unborn baby is, in fact, a girl, and then performing an abortion to do way with her.

Asian girl

This practice is called sex-selected abortion, or gendercide, and it is so widespread in places like India and China that it has unbalanced the population ratio, leading to a shortage of young women to be brides. Misogyny is such a stubborn evil that, instead of making these cultures value baby girls more and stop killing them, this shortage of girls has led to kidnappings, forced marriages and families of brothers “sharing” one wife.

What does this have to do with the United States and Planned Parenthood? Just this. Birth ratios in certain ethnic groups are becoming out of whack here in much the same way they have in other parts of the world. This leads to the conclusion that sex-selected abortion is probably being used on baby girls in those populations. Planned Parenthood clinic workers have been videoed by Live Action helping women arrange to abort a baby because it is a girl.

At the same time, Planned Parenthood and “pro choice” activists always seem to show up to oppose legislation to that would make sex-selected abortion illegal.

A case in point is a current piece of legislation in Florida. That’s the same Florida which is considering a bill to require that babies who survive an abortion be given medical care and not just killed; the same Florida where the Planned Parenthood lobbyist famously spoke against this local Infant Born Alive act.

The short title to the legislation is here. For those of you who don’t want to traipse over to look at it on another web site, here is what it says:

 

SB 1072: Termination of Pregnancy Based on Sex or Race of the Unborn Child

GENERAL BILL by Evers

Termination of Pregnancy Based on Sex or Race of the Unborn Child; Citing this act as the “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”; prohibiting performing, inducing, or actively participating in a termination of pregnancy knowing that it is sought based on the sex or race of the child or the race of a parent of that child, using force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection termination of pregnancy, and soliciting or accepting moneys to finance a sex-selection or race-selection termination of pregnancy; providing criminal penalties, etc.

 

Planned Parenthood tried to play coy about its opposition to this bill. They always do. Here in Oklahoma, they said they opposed the bill because it was “unnecessary.” It Florida, they say the bill is “harmful.” They layered on a bit of what Planned Parenthood is always about in Florida by adding that instead of “wasting time” on “harmful” bills like legislation that would end sex-selected abortion, Florida lawmakers should focus on “expanding health care.”

I personally think that anytime Planned Parenthood talks about “reproductive health” they mean abortion. I also think that anytime they talk about funding for “health care” or expanding “health care,” they mean more money for Planned Parenthood. 

So, I see their alert on Florida’s bill to ban sex and race selected abortions as a one-two punch for Planned Parenthood. Tell legislators to kill this ‘harmful’ bill, they say, and at the same time, encourage them to give Planned Parenthood more money.

You can find this legislative alert by Planned Parenthood of Florida here. I also made a copy in case they take it down.

Preview of  Urge Senators Gaetz and Bean not to agenda harmful bills  Planned Parenthood

The bottom line here is that abortion is more important than women’s lives to these folks. The only way around that conclusion is if you perform whatever moral lobotomy on yourself it takes to believe that killing baby girls before they are born simply because they are baby girls is somehow or other a good thing. You then have to take it a step further and convince yourself that ending this egregious practice is “harmful.”

The question I wanted to ask when I read this legislative alert was “Harmful to whom?” Who does it harm to make it a crime to abort a baby girl just because she’s a baby girl? It seems to me that the “harm” is all on the other side of this equation. 

In addition to the alert, I’m going to put an oldie but a baddie down below. Here is a video of a Planned Parenthood worker advising a young woman as to how to go about obtaining an abortion just to “get rid of” a baby girl. 

YouTube Preview Image


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X