by Fr Richard Heilman | January 23, 2017 7:59 PM
In one week, we will have seen two starkly contrasting marches. This is not to denigrate many of those who participated in the women’s march, as many did not predict that it would be so odious and vile. But, these two marches went a long way in exposing the deep divide in our country.
Not too long ago, the Mass readings from St. John had Jesus exhorting us to be united and to remain in the truth, even when the world will hate us for it:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one …I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:11, 14-17).
In an earlier passage, Jesus says,
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
Why is there so much division today? Because we live in an information age, and the vast majority of those who “control the message” seem to either ignore, or even have disdain for, traditional values. In other words, we are being “programmed by the worldly.” Those who live on a steady diet of television and movies that herald such things as fornication, sodomy and adultery, are especially prone to this indoctrination.
The rate of speed as to how fast our culture has turned its back on God and His truths, as revealed through scripture and tradition, seems to run concurrent with the advance of communication technology. While the government held strict moral decency laws early on, efforts to “push the envelope” have been relentless over the years. Now, any child who can work a cell phone can access the most egregious pornography imaginable.
A recent Pew Reseach study shows that Christianity has seen a dramatic drop from their ranks. The most significant drop is among Millennials, who happen to be the most “tuned in” to pop culture. As more and more people fall prey to this indoctrination, “traditional” folks become fewer and fewer and, therefore, seen as “out of touch with the times.” We truly are becoming a “remnant.”
But, I am particularly concerned with the accelerated rate of this indoctrination in just the past few years. With the advent of high speed internet, the indoctrination is in hyperdrive.
Consider the change of attitude of our country toward gay marriage. In just 2008 – and the presidential election – both Democrats and Republicans ran “in favor” of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). Just 7 short years later, the Democrats saw their support of Gay Marriage to be a make or break issue in the 2016 election. Republicans, and even most leaders within the Catholic Church, are choosing to remain mostly silent on the issue. Why? According to a Pew Research study, in 2001 Americans overwhelmingly opposed same-sex marriage by a 57% to 35% margin. Just a few short years later, we now see a majority of Americans (52%) supporting same-sex marriage, compared with 40% who oppose it. Literally overnight, the country has flipped on this issue and Americans are now willing to allow the redefinition of marriage … something that has not occurred since the dawn of civilization.
St. Jude wrote:
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Letter of St. Jude 1:17-23).
Listen, in spite of the increasing ridicule we receive as our numbers grow smaller, what does it really mean to be “traditional?” It simply means we are “staying home” while others are “moving away.” We are remaining in God’s truth, as revealed through His word – scripture and tradition. Many believe the “same page” that will bring unity is to “go with the majority.” Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.”
But, here’s the most challenging part … we cannot “bully the bullies.” We simply must remain welcoming to all those who have lost their way. Like the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son, we must wait and hope the wayward will return. That means our arms are constantly open … constantly approachable … constantly accessible. We are God’s children … we simply cannot contradict that high calling. God is love, and so are we.
Remain strong, remnant! Remain Christ-like.
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