Monday, March 27, 2017
Friends of Faith:
Bishop Robert Barron wrote an interesting article (March 26 Witness) about what the culture wants us to see – tolerance, diversity and inclusivity. And the difference between that and what God really WANTS us to be and see, which is Love. A Love which may mean we have to be intolerant of sin and more truthful with each other, in order to protect others, so as to move us closer to what GOD really wants us to BE, which is much different than what the culture wants us to be.
What Bishop Barron is reminding us is that we cannot be tolerant at the expense of God’s truth, because that would mean we are tolerating sin and not seeing the world in God’s eyes, but rather seeing the world in human eyes.
Our love cannot be a love so inclusive as to be at the expense of God’s righteousness, because that would mean we may not be helping a friend, neighbor, or brother to grow holier, which is our call as a people of God.
"Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart." 1 Sm 16:7
But in order to judge what is sinful, and in order to spread God’s love we must be able to SEE as God SEE’s – and in today’s world this is extremely difficult, if not impossible, because we are in a spiritual war that says we can’t judge, not even sin, and that we must be tolerant of all choices because choice is our right and we have a right to be free.
So instead of judging what is sinful, we are being conditioned to love everyone unconditionally. This then means we are not telling someone that what they are doing is wrong for fear of hurting their feelings. So we allow everyone to think they are a winner and to determine what is right by themselves, without God’s guidance.
Yet our call in life is exactly opposite of this scenario. Our call in life is to help make others holy. That may mean we are placed in someone’s life to be their example, to be their parent or teacher, or even to be their conscience.
And, I for one know that I do things wrong, that the sins I commit, I cannot always see and that I must constantly learn, seek guidance and be taught God’s perspective. And in doing so, I am aware of God’s constant forgiveness and mercy—a different sort of tolerance and intolerance.
And while many, over the last 2000 years have tried to deny, change, challenge or even vilify God’s one, holy, universal and apostolic Church we cannot deny that God would have left us nothing less than what could be perfect, that God’s eyes are all seeing, and that God’s ways (tolerant and intolerant) are known only fully to Him.
That’s why, although people are imperfect, HIS Church and the Sacraments He has given us are so perfect, because they were designed by Got to lead us to perfection, to holiness.
We become one with Him through baptism. He sent His son, Jesus, to offer us renewal through the eating of the flesh of His body and blood given in the sacrifice of the Eucharistic table (John 6: 35 -59). And we are guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit given to us in Confirmation. (Father, Son & Holy Spirit –the Trinity)
He gave Peter the keys to the kingdom (priesthood) “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 16: 18 And completed the call to priesthood with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mt 16:19
And He gave us the gift of the Sacrament of Marriage, so that we here on earth could continue His manifestation in His gift of life and love through sacrificial giving to another as a reflection of our eventual union in heaven with Him.
So as we journey through Lent, drawing closer to the Good Friday memorial of Jesus’ death on the cross, may we constantly strive to “see” not from our human eyes of tolerance and righteousness; but rather from God’s eyes the right intolerance of human sinfulness. And let us look ever forward to the mercy granted by His death, by His perfect love, which just as He granted the “good” thief on the cross, also grants us His promise and hope for eternal life.
May we constantly seek to see and understand as God sees and understands,