October 15, 2019

What Does God Expect of Us?

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court discovered or invented a supposed “right to privacy” in the Constitution that allowed abortions to be committed at almost any time for virtually any reason—an horrifically immoral decision that has so far cost over 55 million lives and has threatened our society’s continued existence. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court once again defied God by claiming the authority to redefine the very nature of marriage, throwing out thousands of years of human wisdom and tradition by deciding men can supposedly marry other men and women can supposedly marry other women—a foolish and arrogant ruling that sets our nation on a direct collision course with Divine Justice. Five members of the Court—two of them claiming to be Catholic—not only defied God, but also ignored the will of citizens in numerous states, including Michigan, who sought to defend the traditional, God-given understanding of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. In fact, two of these five justices had themselves already presided at a supposed same-sex wedding—a personal conflict of interest which should have led them, if they had any degree of personal integrity, to recuse or disqualify themselves from the issue. However, this entire process hasn’t been about discovering and defending the truth, but about catering to special interests and advancing an agenda. So-called “gay rights” activists and their many misguided or deceived supporters are rejoicing for the moment, but their victory will come at a very heavy cost, both for themselves personally and for society as a whole. God will not be mocked, and those who in their stubborn pride reject His Will also forfeit His blessings and protection.

The Scripture readings for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time remind us that the Lord is very concerned with human behavior, and that our moral values and decisions can have a lasting impact on our relationship with Him. When Jesus came to His hometown of Nazareth, the people—instead of taking His teaching seriously—questioned His authority and even took offense at Him. The Gospel (Mark 6:1-6) tells us that as a result, Jesus was not able to perform any mighty deed there, aside from a few healings, because of their closed hearts and lack of faith. In a similar way, the expression “God bless America” has become an empty phrase, for by our free choices and actions as a society, we make it impossible for God to bless us. Miracles and other expressions of divine favor are not automatic; we have to prove ourselves worthy of them—and America is falling increasingly short in this regard.

For this reason, the witness of courageous and committed Christians is more important than ever; the more unpopular and politically incorrect unchanging truth becomes, the more essential it is that the Church continue to uphold it—though doing so will quite often, of course, result in much opposition. In the Book of Ezekiel (2:2-5) the Lord told the prophet, “I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have . . . revolted against Me to this very day.” God might very well be speaking these same words to Christians in present-day America—for indeed, we are supposed to let our light shine in a world darkened by sin, even if this makes us hated and resented. Will we succeed in helping change the course of our nation? Perhaps not—but as the Lord said to Ezekiel, “whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—they shall know that a prophet has been among them.” In the same way, Jesus expects His followers to bear witness to the truth, whether it’s welcome or unwelcome. In his Letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 12:7-10), St. Paul said, “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints for the sake of Christ.” I don’t think any of us can make a similar claim to being content with hatred and suffering—I know I can’t—but the Lord still expects us to do our part in defending human life and the sanctity of marriage, even at the risk of controversy and unpopularity, and in return, He promises to help us, to preserve us, and to reward us for our fidelity.

An alleged visionary known to me personally claims that on the day the Court imposed its decision, the Virgin Mary told her that her “blood-stained tears fall upon a civilization that is rebelling against the Laws of God and rejoicing [in] the laws of man. So many of my children are steeped in a cesspool of sin so deep that they are unaware of the filthy stench and ugliness of these horrific sins. . . . The wrath of God will soon be revealed to those of my [sinful and rebellious] children who live for the wickedness of your world which is now being controlled by the evil one.” Regardless of whether one accepts the validity of private revelations, there can be no doubt that things will never again be quite the same. According to the Catholic bishops of Michigan, “the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the First Amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the Church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions.” I believe history will show this was, in effect, the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the moment that America lost any remaining claim to be “one nation under God.” I also believe each one of us will be judged by the Lord in part on whether we attempted to live by and uphold divinely-revealed truth.

What are we supposed to do? What does God expect of us, and how can we personally prepare ourselves if indeed His judgment is about to fall upon our land? In the words of St. Peter to the crowds in Jerusalem on Pentecost Sunday, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40). In order to do this, we must live in a way that shows our allegiance is to God, not to the passing values of society; we must remain firmly rooted in the truth, even if this makes us part of an unpopular and even persecuted minority. As the bishops of Michigan have stated, “the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, this truth as what is good for society and our world.” Through our prayers and sacrifices, our defense of the Church, and our influence and discussion with others, you and I are called to be part of this effort.

The battle lines are being drawn—perhaps more clearly than at any other time in our nation’s history—and each of us is choosing, either knowingly or by default, which side we’re on. Every civilization in history that has promoted or celebrated homosexual relationships has thereby destroyed its moral foundations, and soon afterwards fallen—and so it’s quite possible that the days of the United States of America are numbered. As patriotic citizens, we understandably grieve over this prospect—but if our ultimate allegiance is to the Kingdom of God, we need not fear. As our Supreme Judge, Jesus promises to bless and protect those who hold onto and live out their faith, no matter what—and as long as we honestly try to do this, our salvation is assured.

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Written by
Fr Joseph Esper

REVEREND JOSEPH M. ESPER is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Anchorville, Michigan. He received his Master of Divinity degree from St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan. Through the years, Father Joe has lectured at Marian conferences, appeared on EWTN, spoken on Catholic radio, and written more than a dozen articles for This Rock, The Priest, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and other publications. He is also the author of numerous books, including Saintly Solutions, More Saintly Solutions, After the Darkness, Lessons from the Lives of the Saints, and Why Is God Punishing Me? In addition to Amazon, many of his most recent books are available through Queenship Publishing.

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Written by Fr Joseph Esper
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