Monday, October 29, 2012

Blindness to Moral Truth Is Bankrupting Us

"Master, I want to see."

In the dialogue between Jesus and the blind man, Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46-52)  we are able to learn that God can do something for us that we cannot do for ourselves.  He can restore us to wholeness.  The blind man is completely without any power to save himself from this condition.  No one can help him. Yet, he believes that Jesus Christ can restore his sight.

This work of God is prompted, in this case, by a plea for mercy. “Son of David, have pity on me.”  God’s mercy is infinite.  Each of us is keenly aware of this even if we lose sight of it, at times.  Sometimes we feel as though we are completely without hope.  How odd that this man, with no sight, could still “see” and understand that the one passing before him had the quality of one who was a true Son of David and a dispenser of God’s mercy. 

As we are all too aware, the time is near for us to go once again to the polls to pick our representatives in government.  If you are like me, you feel something like the blind man begging for God’s mercy.  Our nation is in deep debt financially and already spiritually bankrupt. According to the data issued by US Treasury and the Census Bureau, the amount of national foreign debt per US household is almost 50,000 dollars ($47,495). I cannot see how we can expect to continue as we are going in the spiritual area.  God’s patience with us is truly beyond all human comprehension.

Before we think about the outcome of the elections, though, we need to consider our condition and who it is that is passing along this way. Whether it is our own spiritual health, or our nation’s spiritual health, we need to grasp our blindness.  We need to admit our nation’s blindness regarding some fundamental moral issues. 

It is certainly true that there is room for legitimate discussion on the various positions on the economy and taxes and helping those in need.  It is a good thing to support programs which give a priority to helping the poor.  Political parties have their programs for dealing with these issues and one is free to discern which is best.  However, no political program has any moral claim to continue to incur debt to be assumed by future generations.  (Think of your own children and grandchildren).  Such debt, even for the support of programs that aid those in need must be reduced by economic development that is characteristic of authentic human development.  Economic development that is authentically human does not permit us to unjustly deny anyone the fundamental right to life or violate the natural law right to privately owned property by confiscation of that property without a just cause and just compensation.  This means that we must not choose lightly to incur debt to be paid by someone else.

At the same time, there are some issues that are not negotiable and so fundamental that they take precedence even over giving financial aid to the poor. If Jesus were passing by today, it looks like many in our nation would not know what he would require of us in our blindness.  Many of us need to open ourselves up to God’s mercy.  But we are so confused through a blindness to moral goodness.  Will we refuse to call upon Jesus for fear that he might, indeed, help us to see that the right to life and the sanctity of marriage are not to be violated? 

As reported on, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Il, recently wrote, “a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”  The bishop criticized the political support for the so-called right to abortion and the right to have it paid for by taxpayers. 

He also said, “Moreover, the [current] Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that "gay rights are human rights," and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.” 

Also, the Bishop of Green Bay Wisconsin, Bishop David Ricken has said that the church has a responsibility to “speak out regarding moral issues, especially on those issues that impact the ‘common good.’” He points to principles to keep in mind in the voting booth on Nov. 6, regarding abortion, euthanasia, … and gay marriage.
“A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program that contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals,” Ricken wrote. “Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally ‘complicit’ with [or share responsibility for] these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

If one cannot see the possible spiritual dangers in supporting those who promote these evils, that person is like the blind man who is in danger of falling into a deep chasm that lies ahead. 

I do not wish to influence anyone’s vote in any way.  I know that what I say here will not affect the outcome of any election.  About that, I am not too concerned. Most people have already decided, anyway. As a pastor, however, I want people to know that there are consequences to their choices. Voting in such a way that one promotes tax-payer funded abortion or same-sex marriage is an action that, in the present circumstances, is impossible to justify from a moral point of view. 

“Master, I want to see.” You and I are on the roadside begging for the Lord’s compassion.  May we hear Jesus say to each of us, "Go your way; your faith has saved you."


Kevin said...

Fr. Richard,

Thank you for your blog. I have my feed reader linked to it and find your posts helpful for my continued learning in morality. I enjoyed reading this homily. I referenced the same words of Bishop Paprocki in a homily I give several weeks ago: It received many positive responses and parishioners mentioned it to me even a couple weeks afterward. At the same time I received a couple negative letters, but after reading the words of Gregory the Great from the Office of Readings the following Sunday, I was affirmed in what the Lord is calling us to do.

I pray that you are doing well. God bless,
Fr. Kevin Vogel

Fr. Edward J. Richard said...

Thank you, Father Vogel. I am delighted that you commented on the blog. I had the opportunity to listen to your wonderful homily that is linked in your comment. It was brilliant! Keep up the good work.