A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Rules

Today's culture rebels against objective "rules" of morality: everything depends upon the situation and what those involved feel is right.

It's a rule.

It's also a scam.

Disciples of today's culture, if they are religiously inclined, sometimes point to our Lord's denunciations of the Pharisees, such in today's Gospel (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23), as supporting their point-of-view in opposition to the rules and traditions of Church leaders, whom they accuse of being the scribes and Pharisees of today.

On the contrary, the scribes and the Pharisees, who were the elites and the opinion-makers in that religion-based society of old, have their closest equivalent in the elites and the opinion-makers in the secular society of today.

Indeed, in today's secular society, the faithful members and leaders of the Church are the true prophetic voices today, while today's scribes and Pharisees are those who promote today's cultural values of selfishness in its many forms (because "that's just the way people are today").

You disregard God's commandment
but cling to human tradition.

We see this reinforced in our Lord's words at the end of today's Gospel.

For from within, out of the heart of man,
come evil thoughts,
fornication (unchastity),
coveting (greed),
wickedness (malice),
slander (blasphemy),
pride (arrogance),
foolishness (folly).

All these evil things come from within,
and they defile a man.

Faithful members and leaders of the Church speak against all of these evil things and strive to avoid them, with the grace of God.

The elites and opinion makers of today's secular world justify, promote and practice these evil things unrepentantly.

That being said, we ourselves must continue to strive always to be faithful: that we may honor God not just with our lips but with our hearts and with our deeds, remembering also today's second reading (James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27):

Be doers of the word
and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Religion that is pure
and undefiled before God and the Father
is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

And also today's first reading (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8):

In your observance
of the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin upon you,
you shall not add to what I command you
nor subtract from it.

Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations…

We need to be on guard against the scribes and Pharisees of today's selfish, secular culture. We need to be faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to his word, to his commandments, and to his love.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.

He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Know this, my dear brothers:
everyone should be quick to hear,
slow to speak,
slow to wrath,
for the wrath of a man
does not accomplish the righteousness of God.

Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess
and humbly welcome
the word
that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.