I need to share with you today, the O’Carm reflection of Lectio Divina, which is no different then what you see today in the way our government refuses to do what is right an just for all people, and pass laws for their own personal gains, for their own personal agendas, and refuse to do what is right and just. The public outcry against abortion and the need to ban all funding to Planned Parenthood but rather, the secular slanted legal system along with the words directly from the nations leaders, going out of their way to silence the souls who made the videos, rather then doing what needs to be done for the children being slaughtered today. The pushing for homosexual marriage, which does not exist in the first place. The blatant stealing of innocence from children by means of forcing the “teaching” of sex education to the youngest in society and so much more that literally MIRRORS what had taken place in nations that have been crushed through all history.
You see the “faithful” obtaining information from “secular” society on matters of “faith” rather then going to the source of their “faith”, therefore becoming secularized and not growing in faith. I highly advise Catholics NOT to listen to the secular sources for any information concerning our faith, but turn directly to the Church and the Vatican for ALL information. Grow in the faith, not in the Religion of Nationalism.
•Today’s Gospel describes the way in which John the Baptist was the victim of corruption and of the arrogance of the government of Herod. He was killed without a process, during a banquet of the king with the great of the kingdom. The text gives us much information on the time in which Jesus lived and on the manner in which power was used by the powerful of that time.
• Matthew 14,1-2. Who is Jesus for Herod. The text begins by informing about the opinion which Herod had of Jesus: “This is John the Baptist himself, he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him”. Herod tries to understand Jesus starting from the fear which assailed him after murdering John. Herod was very superstitious and hid his fear behind the ostentation of his riches and of his power.
• Matthew 14, 3-5: The hidden cause of the murdering of John. Galilee, the land of Jesus, was governed by Herod Antipas, the son of King Herod, the Great, from the year 4 BC until the year 38 AD, after Christ. Forty-three years in all! During the time of the life of Jesus, there were no changes of government in Galilee! Herod was the absolute Lord of everything, he did not render an account to anyone, he did whatever passed through his mind. Arrogance, lack of ethics, absolute power, without control from the people! But the one, who commanded in Palestine since the year 63 before Christ, was the Roman Empire. Herod, in Galilee, so as not to be dismissed, tried to please Rome in everything. Above all, he insisted on an efficient administration which would bring riches to the Empire. His concern was his own promotion and his security. For this reason, he refrained from any type of subversion. Matthew says that the reason for murdering John was because he had denounced Herod, because he had married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Flavio Joseph, a Jewish writer of that time, says that the true reason for the imprisonment of John the Baptist was the fear of Herod that there would be a popular revolt. Herod like to be called the benefactor of the people, but in reality he was a tyrant (Lk 22, 25). The denunciation of John against Herod was the drop that caused the glass to overflow: “It is against the Law for you to have her”. And John was put in prison.
• Matthew 14, 6-12: The plot of the murderer. An anniversary and a festive banquet, with dances and orgy! Mark says that in the feast were “the great of the court, the officials and the important people of Galilee” (Mk 6, 21). This is the environment in which the murdering of John the Baptist is planned. John, the prophet, was a living denunciation of that corrupt system. This is why, he was eliminated with the pretext of a problem of personal revenge. All this reveals the moral weakness of Herod. So much power accumulated in the hands of one man incapable to control himself! In the enthusiasm of the feast and of the wine, Herod makes a promise by oath to Salome, the young dancer, daughter of Herodias. Superstitious as he was, he thought that he had to maintain this oath, and respond to the caprice of the girl; and because of this he ordered the soldier to bring the head of John on a tray and give it to the dancer, who then gave it to her mother. For Herod, the life of his subjects was worthless. He disposes of them as he disposes of the staircases in his house!
The three characteristics of the government of Herod: the new Capital, large estates, and the class of functionaries:
a) The New Capital. Tiberiade was inaugurated when Jesus was only 20 years old. It was called like that in order to please Tiberius, the emperor of Rome. It was inhabited by the lords of the earth, the soldiers, the policemen, the unscrupulous judges (Lk 18, 1-4). The taxes and the products of the people were channelled toward it. It was there that Herod made his orgy of death (Mk 6, 21-29). Tiberiades was the city of the palaces of the King, where those who wore soft, delicate dresses lived (cf. Mt 11, 8). It is not known by the Gospels that Jesus entered this city.
b) The large estates. Scholars say that during the long government of Herod, the large estates grew causing harm to community property. The Book of Henoch denounces the lords of the land and expresses the hope of the little ones: “And then the powerful and the great will no longer be the lords of the land”. (Hen 38,4). The ideal of ancient times was the following: “Each one will peacefully sit under his vine and nobody will frighten them” (1 Mac 14,12; Mi 4,4; Zc 3,10). But the politics of the government of Herod made this ideal impossible.
c) The class of functionaries. Herod created a whole class of functionaries faithful to the project of the King: the Scribes, the merchants, the lords of the land, the officers of the market, the tax collectors, the militia, the policemen, the judges, the local heads,. In every village there was a group of persons which supported the government. In the Gospels, some Pharisees appear together with the Herodians (Mk 3, 6; 8, 15; 12, 13), and that shows the alliance between the religious power and the civil power. The life of the people in the villages was very controlled, both by the government and by the religion. Much courage was necessary to begin anything new, as John and Jesus did! It was the same thing as attracting to self the anger of the privileged ones, both from the religious and the civil powers.
Repent and BELIEVE
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Persecution of Christians takes place in many forms. In Iraq, we see the destruction that men do with the sword. In the US we see what takes place with the pen. Both equal in hate for anything sacred. Both being bough forth through not loving God above all else.
There is a spectrum of persecution taking place across the globe. One is not greater than the other. They all stem from hate. A hatred that comes from fear. A fear of self. The self that holds on to everything other than God. Fear of letting go of prejudiced and conviction not from God. The self-justification that somehow if I am not physically killing someone, but rather pushing for them to change their “belief” is killing. Killing the fundamental base for all faith. That being, we are not God. As Christians, when our Lord calls us to die to self, we freely give up the sinfulness of self, and follow him. When the government says “Convert or Die”, it is following its own design and not that of our Lord. When persecution comes by the pen, its screaming to the world, WE ARE GOD! When persecution comes at the hand of a sword, it screams WE ARE GOD! There is no difference. The pen may be mightier then the sword, but it can be used as a weapon and is, more than not when the truth is trying to be suppressed.
“Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you”
EDIT TO ADD:
July 21, 2014
WASHINGTON–The bishop-Chairmen of two USCCB Committees responded with great concern to President Obama’s July 21 executive order to prohibit federal government contractors from what the Administration deems “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination and to forbid “gender identity” discrimination in the employment of federal employees. The problems the bishops identify in the order relate both to the flaws in its core prohibitions, and to its lack of religious freedom protection.
Two USCCB Chairmen – Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth – together issued the following statement.
Today’s executive order is unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed.
In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination. With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent. As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.
More specifically, the Church strongly opposes both unjust discrimination against those who experience a homosexual inclination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman. But the executive order, as it regards federal government contractors, ignores the inclination/conduct distinction in the undefined term “sexual orientation.” As a result, even contractors that disregard sexual inclination in employment face the possibility of exclusion from federal contracting if their employment policies or practices reflect religious or moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.
The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex. This is a problem not only of principle but of practice, as it will jeopardize the privacy and associational rights of both federal contractor employees and federal employees. For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.
In an attempt to avoid these needless conflicts, states that have passed “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” prohibitions have overwhelmingly included protections for religious employers. When the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by the President’s own party, passed the similar Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) last year, it included religious liberty protections as well. Indeed, all prior versions of ENDA had at least some religious liberty protections. But the executive order is an anomaly in this regard, containing no religious liberty protections. In this way, the order, which is fundamentally flawed in itself, also needlessly prefers conflict and exclusion over coexistence and cooperation.
Regarding federal contractors, the Executive Order will take effect after rules to be promulgated by the Department of Labor implementing the Executive Order become final. Regarding federal employment, the Executive Order is effective immediately.
Keywords: Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Archbishop William E. Lori, Bishop Richard Malone, gender identity, sexual identity
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Sister Mary Ann Walsh
Is there any difference between the murder of Christians by Radical Islam in the ME, and the Murder of the Unborn through the act of Abortion everywhere else in the world?
I ask this question, not looking for an answer, but for many to ponder it. With the Prayers for Peace in the ME and the “rage” some have shown about praying for peace with Muslims, Jews and Orthodox with Pope Francis, I know this question is extremely important for everyone to ponder.
If I pass a law, stating, I can kill you because you are Christian. What makes it any different from, I can kill you because you are not born yet…. It stems from the same sin. That being murder.
2258 “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”56
I understand that the most innocent are the closet to our Lord and the unborn are most definitely them. I truly believe the womb of a woman, is the extension of the Hands of God, until He gives His “gift”, to learn of Him, to do His will in this world. Until they return to Him again.
Where I am going here is with so many up in arms willing to move what they can, to kill for the sake of ending Radical Islam killing others, but wouldn’t lift a PEN to outlaw and end the mass murder through abortion in their own nation, that has taken millions more children, than all wars through history, by those not only who share OUR faith, but all faiths….
We become SO enraged at THEM, we can’t see that we are no different from THEM…