St. Paul: Tougher Than Shoe Leather and Not Much Prettier

A blessed Sunday to you dear friends,

A challenging Gospel this morning (for me) in the wake of the last two weeks.  It was short and sweet and from John, the core being Jesus’ admonition “Love one another as I have loved you.” The Boston bombing has of course rocked everyone’s world the previous week, along with the devastating explosion in West, Texas.  I had a couple of things this week:  the nugget of joy brought to my attention from CatholicVote.org , and the Affordable Healthcare Act presentation at our church Tuesday night.  Here’s the gist of the aforementioned:

Last week a group of half-naked radical feminists shocked the world by storming the stage at a public conference to assault the Catholic Archbishop of Brussels, soaking him with water and shouting curses in an effort to silence him for his defense of the sanctity of marriage. To add insult to injury, these radicals also used water bottles often found at Lourdes, which are shaped in the image of Our Lady.  But Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard responded by bowing his head in prayer. As the attackers were removed, the Archbishop took one of the water bottles shaped in the image of the Blessed Mother and kissed it as a sign of reparation. 


“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you…because of me” (St. Matthew 5:11).

Here in America, radical homosexual activists have interrupted the Mass, desecrated the Holy Eucharist, and last year terrorized the Family Research Council with a semi-automatic weapon, shooting a security guard in the arm with the intent of killing others before he was subdued. 

I assume these are the same topless ladies I saw  some time ago in a news story protesting in Rome hurling invective at Benedict XVI to “Shut up, Pope!” before they were hauled away by police.  “The kind you don’t take home to Mother!” pop poet Rick James so eloquently described, I venture to say.  The same-sex marriage dominos seem to be falling in favor of gay activists all over the world.  I recently saw a clip of Uruguay’s governing body passing a vote sanctioning same-sex marriage, and I was most impressed – among the pandemonium of joy among proponents – by a beefy middle-aged man dressed as Marie Antoinette jumping up and down like he’d won the Big Game lottery.  Not exactly reminiscent of George Washington kneeling in the snows of Valley Forge.  In noting these reactions all over the world, I get a strong sense of it’s not “Freedom from” but “Freedom to” that has them jumping for joy.  Not that anyone was preventing same-sex couples from living together and sharing a bowl of cornflakes before marriage was universally recognized to be between a man and woman.  But be that as it may, Archbishop Leonard’s reaction to be abused for the sake of the Name is especially instructive in light of Jesus’ words to us today.

I left the AHA presentation very blue, if not outright depressed.  It was not well attended, and I can understand why.  I blew off Toastmasters to go, but on my way home from work I was sorely tempted to just go home, pop a cold one, and sit numbly in front of Jeopardy in my comfy chair.  After all, the people have spoken, and resistance is futile – join the Collective, a little voice was saying.

All the statistics around abortion are depressing enough, but the government’s partnership initiative with Planned Parenthood to take over “health clinics” in public schools is especially deflating.  As of today 3 school systems in Georgia are on board; the current champ is Florida, with 248 school systems.  I’m married to a teacher, so I know if she gave a child complaining of a headache an aspirin she would be compromising her job.  For the school’s current health clinic to do it they would need parental sign-off, but starting in 2014 a 7th grader can walk into the school clinic and ask for a shot of Depo Provera or Plan B, and she’ll get it, and the school will actually be forbidden by law to notify her parents.  This is all in the name of “female health” of course, but there will be parents taking their daughters to the ER with a high fever, unaware she has a pelvic infection from the IUD in her that the parents don’t know about.  It’s just plain insanity from any rational perspective, and chilling to realize the government takes a moral ground that it considers higher than a parent’s right to know everything that’s going on with their child.

I could go on and on quoting facts around the AHA – they are out there if you really want to know  (after all, we had to pass it to find out what’s in it) – but what I was most blue about coming away from Tuesday’s presentation was feeling like a shipwreck survivor, trying to cling to some flotsam of truth as I bobbed up and down in the Sea of Lies.  Abortion is Big Money: big money to the people that do the abortions, big money to Big Pharma in abortifacients and contraceptives.  That’s why the media put a blanket over the Kermit Gosnell story, because it doesn’t jibe with the “women’s health” talking points.  Finally the lid’s been pried up on that horror story, and now some Pulitzer-seeking journalists are out asking questions, and the stories are coming out about a number of PP clinics – especially in poorer urban areas – that are not examples of medical probity, to be kind.  But back to the school clinics: they were started back in the ‘70s with the stated aim of “preventing teen pregnancy”, as if pregnancy was the least desirable result of sexual intercourse.  And the government will trumpet that they have been successful, reducing the number of teen pregnancies in 1980 of 3.2 /1,000 people to 1.8/1,000 people in 2010.  But girls that dropped out of school to raise their babies aren’t counted, and neither are girls that had abortions or miscarriages.  It’s just like the way they play with numbers around employment: when I became a “99 weeker”, I was no longer included in the calculations of people out of a job and looking for a job.  But back to the school clinics, they don’t bother to tell you that teen and even pre-teen STDs are on the rise.  Or that all these sexual shenanigans are a factor in rising teen mental health problems and suicide.

In our Men’s Spirituality group recently I made the statement we are going to see Christians in the near future going to jail for not being on board with HHS mandate and same-sex marriage.  One fellow pooh-poohed my statement, responding “I don’t see it coming to that.”  Maybe I am being Eeyore-ish; I hope so, for my children and grandchildren’s sake.  But back to the Sea of Lies metaphor: levels are rising, and polar bears are starting to use sun block and practicing the back stroke.  Take for example the overpopulation lie: commodity prices – adjusted for inflation – are well below what they were when Paul Ehrlich published “The Population Bomb” back in the 1970s.  Most First World countries are experiencing birth rates significantly below replacement levels; Japan is a country that is in a dire population implosion, not an explosion.  By 2050 most of the citizens of Tokyo trying to escape Godzilla will be in wheelchairs or using walkers.  “An Inconvenient Truth” was purported by the inventor of the Internet; there are a number of inconvenient truths for the enemies of God and their deceived sympathizers.  These are the best of times for the Father of Lies, as probably the majority of believers have swallowed the lie that he’s just a metaphor.  That opens the door for easily swallowing a summary host of lies.

Enough walking down the sunny side of the sewer: let’s try to end this on a high note.  Some recent words I read from St. Paul (2 Corinthians, 11):

Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep;on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure.And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.

Wow, I don’t think anybody every told Paul “Be a man!” I especially love it in Acts after he’s been stoned and his companions assume he’s dead, when he suddenly jumps up, brushes himself off, and says “Let’s ride amigos”  like a 1st century Lee Van Cleef.  Or when the asp latches onto his hand, and he treats it like a paper cut.  One tough dude. A tribulation to me is another questionable draft by the Cleveland Browns, or that I couldn’t get the blade off of my lawn mower yesterday.

Yes Jesus, you have conquered the world.  Sustain our faith, our hope, and our charity through all our trials and tribulations, so that we one day are welcome in Your Kingdom.  Amen.

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