30th Sunday in Ordinary Time ~ St. Monica~ Matthew 22:34-40, Exodus 22:20-26
A recent study found that the Flint water crises resulted in horrifyingly large increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages. There was concern that there was not a greater outrage from pro-choice commentators asking, “Where are the so-called ‘pro-lifers’ on this tragedy?” The argument was that pro-life is only concerned about the child in the womb, but not the child that is born.
Around that time, in his in-flight press conference from Columbia, Pope Francis was asked about the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which places 800,000 young people without legal immigration status in danger of deportation. In the Pope’s reply he said that President Trump is pro-life, he should “understand that the family is the cradle of life, and that it must be defended as a unit.”
The national director of Priests for Life, took to the website Brietbart to question the fairness of Pope Francis’ description of immigration as a pro-life issue, claiming (misleadingly) that “since there is no specific immigration policy in the Catechism”, Catholics can disagree about immigration without calling their pro-life commitment into question.”
Pope Francis is clear that being pro-life should include concern for the vulnerable outside the womb. While doing so may not win over absolutist advocates, it might help persuade the majority of Americans who question unlimited access to abortion to listen more carefully.
People claim that those here illegally have broken the law. But it needs to be pointed out that this country also has a law that allows abortion. Therefore, our country’s laws are not the same as God’s laws. If we truly follow the laws, then Joseph, Mary and Jesus would not be welcome in our country today. The first reading is clearly the law of God.
“You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.”
We have unfair laws that have been created by rich people who are more concerned about making money than loving people. God also says, “If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him.” What about foreclosures, evictions and entrapment of people to spend more than they need in advertisements? Our country spends more on laws to protect guns than people. We judge people as not worthy of love and respect.
Did you hear that last line of our Exodus reading of the law that Jesus summarized today? “What else has he/she to sleep in? If he or she cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”
It is about love.
This is a true story shared by Father Anthony de Mello, S.J.:
“My friend isn’t back from the battlefield, sir. Request permission to go out and get him.”
“Permission refused,” said the officer. “I don’t want you to risk your life for a man who is probably dead.”
The soldier went, all the same, and, an hour later, came back mortally wounded, carrying the corpse of his friend.
The officer was furious. “I told you he was dead. Now I’ve lost both of you. Tell me, was it worth going out there to bring in a corpse?”
The dying man replied, “Oh, it was sir. When I got to him, he was till alive. And he said to me, ‘Jack, I was sure you’d come.’
Since both men died, who told the story? Jesus tells stories and teaches the people set in their way of self-righteousness. We are all like the Pharisees and Sadducees. We believe we are justified. But love will melt our icy hearts and taking sides. Jesus wants us to see the immigrant, the woman who out of fear had an abortion, the refugee, and the rich person with love. We have to trust that love will win out.
Project Rachael works. It restores more than the sinner and the innocent child. It restores each of us to love as Jesus loves. The women are released when they name their child, offer their child to Jesus, and hear the child offer forgiveness. Powerful release for the people who just didn’t know what they were doing. We are very much challenged to love those whom we disagree with or who have done things that we feel are against God’s commandments. We need to let God take care of them. They will have a much better chance.
This is a song I have been singing to God by Integrity Music:
Your love… is extravagant.
Your friendship… oh so intimate.
I find I’m a moving, to the rhythms of your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating…
In a secret place….
Your love… is extravagant
Spread wide are the arms of Christ
Is a love that conquers sin
No greater love have I ever known
And you call me an intimate friend…
Capture my heart again
Capture my heart again