Ok, a little dramatic of a title for a blog in response to the Supreme Court of the United States’ landmark ruling on legalizing same-sex marriage…but there is truth to it.
If you’re just waking up and checking Facebook for your daily news (I guess that’s what we do now days), you might have discovered that the Supreme Court had narrowly made a decision that same-sex marriage must be legalized in the nation, which effectively overturned any state laws that banned same-sex marriage.
Now, as an opponent of the same-sex marriage movement, I could go off on why this is contrary to our faith and the Bible.I could rant about facts about how this destroys children, families, and ultimately society.I could talk about the further legitimizing of sexual sin.But I’m not.Mostly because we’ve heard the arguments and pretty much all that could be said has been said.
But what I do want to talk about is our response, as Catholics, to those who will label us as “haters” and “bigots” because of our opposition.I want to talk about the repercussions that Catholics will undoubtedly face in light of this ruling.To me, the battle is not lost, but it has become much more difficult to fight as well as to live out our faith openly.
Accepting Jesus’ teachings and following him whole-heartedly is hard for even us Christians to do.It requires a complete trust in him that is nothing short of divine intervention.And when we don’t walk the talk, it’s much simpler for others to call us out on it.
It isn’t easy being Christian because we get in the way of ourselves.We value our selfish needs over our personal relationship with God.We spend more time outside of prayer than within it.And the more time we spend away from God, the more we tend accept things that are contrary to him.
So what do we do?We live like a saint of course!And if you know anything about the saints, it’s that they weren’t perfect.They were sinners just as much as all of us are.But what makes them unique and holy is they continually emptied themselves from that life of sin and aligned their hearts with the hearts of Jesus and Mary.Not just once or twice, but over and over again.
Sometimes, that required major sacrifices.Sometimes, that required speaking the truth of the gospel even when it was not easy, acceptable, or popular.And sometimes, that required making the ultimate sacrifice.
Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.”
Want to be a saint?Then prepare to die!Maybe not literally, but spiritually...in order to be a saint, we must die to ourselves and our selfish needs and our desire for self-preservation, and instead, put on the mantle of Christ.As St. Paul said, “I no longer live but Christ who lives in me.”
In the face of opposition, whether it be against same-sex marriage or abortion or anything else contrary to life and religious freedom, the Church is in need of more saints.The Church needs YOU just as much as you need the Church.And more than ever, we need you today.
After the Baptism of his baby brother in church, little Johnny sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, "That priest said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys."
One of the biggest challenges our Catholic Church is facing in today's world is the lack of whole family involvement in the life of the Church. On several occasions, I have asked relatives, "why don't you go to church anymore?" And often, it would surprise me that they would respond, "because we got you to go pray for us." But the faith community exists as a community of believers who come together to pray as a unified body in Christ, not as a corporation of people who have others go in their place as a proxy representative.
Too often we rely on Religious Education or Faith Formation programs to "teach" the faith to our children. But, as the old proverb goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." It is not up to our parish programs to pass on the faith to our children; it must happen through our homes and by the example of our lives. Parental and family involvement is not simply important; it is essential and vital in order to sustain the faith of our future generations and bring them up with a strong love for Jesus.
Some of you are not married nor do you have children. But I can almost guarantee that each of you have some kind of contact or interaction with little ones. Ask yourself this question: how are you helping that child know Jesus by your words, actions, and life? And even more, how are you helping that child's parents and family become stronger Christians?
Hopefully EPIC Ministry is helping you strengthen your faith so that you can help preserve and pass on that same faith to the next generation and generations to come.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” -Matthew 19:14