14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lk 10:1-12, 17-20
July 3, 2022
There is an often-quoted line from the Book of Job that recent events bring to mind. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
Last week, The Supreme Court of the United States of America “gave back” a freedom to the people of the State of New York. The freedom restored to them involved the right to bear arms without concern for certain restrictions that had previously been imposed by state law.
The very next day, which happened to be the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the highest court of our land, according to one way of thinking, “took away” a freedom. Obviously, I’m talking about what many refer to as “the freedom to choose.”
A friend, reacting to these two landmark rulings, referred to them as “convoluted.” She finds the logic of the Court hard to follow.
In her mind, while the reversal of Roe-v-Wade is intended to afford protection to human life, the lifting of restrictions on firearms increases the threat to the sanctity of human life. She makes a good point. There seems to be some inconsistency here.
One thing that is abundantly clear, the two decisions have not been received in a peaceful atmosphere…certainly not the kind of authentic and lasting “peace” that is the theme in all three of our Readings. We Catholic Christians must be very careful that we are not drawn into the dark forces that are energizing the extreme division that has erupted.
As we navigate these troubled waters, it is more important than ever that we remember that: The LORD gave us FREE WILL…and the LORD will NOT take our FREE WILL away! Moreover, no authority on earth can deprive us of this precious gift from God.
But at the same time, we must keep foremost in our minds the fact that God also sent Jesus Christ into this world so that we might learn how to employ our free will in a way that reflects and promotes the Divine Will. And it is God’s will that we should live together in peace, justice, mutual respect…and yes…LOVE!
Through our Baptism, and armed with the Gospel, we, like the 72 disciples, are empowered to face off and prevail against demons, and serpents, and scorpions…and every other evil force seeking to disrupt our peace…THE PEACE OF CHRIST. Clearly, these destroyers of peace are out in full force. Christ needs each of us to be like minded and committed to this great and universal peace-keeping mission.
The Pontifical Academy of Life has offered us some sage guidance as to how we can move forward from the events of the past week. Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is quoted as saying: “The killing of an innocent human being can never be considered a right. This goes for abortion, it goes for war, it goes for the death penalty, and for the selling and use of arms. Our society as a whole, not just the west, must outlaw murder in all of its forms.”
In other words, we Catholic Christians need to alert our country…and the rest of the world…that the events that have sparked division have, in fact, offered us an opportunity make a greater commitment AGAINST EVERY FORM OF VIOLENCE.
This is an opportunity for humanity to rethink all choices…joining forces to build a more just and equitable society capable of protecting life and caring for everyone, especially mothers.
On this Independence Day weekend, all Americans would do well to consider that lasting and authentic PEACE is not a political matter that can be legislated into existence by any civil, or, for that matter, religious authority. Our Creator is the only Source of true, lasting, and authentic Peace.
In Christ, God has given us PEACE. But when we make any choice that is contrary to the Gospel…we, ourselves, take it away.
And so, in times such as this, we turn to the Gospel to begin the restoration process…the restoring of what seems to have crumbled. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are charged with the duty to restore and preserve the PEACE.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord!