Thoughts on the first Reading for The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Thus says the Lord
You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel;
When you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me
If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,”
And you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked one from his way,
The wicked shall die for his guilt,
But I will hold you responsible for his death,
But if you warn the wicked,
Trying to turn him from his way,
And he refuses to turn from his way,
He shall die for his guilt,
But you shall save yourself.
There is currently a much-reviewed book by Daniel Mattson titled “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,” which catalogs his journey from that damaging and disappointing behavior into a heart-filling relation with Jesus Christ. Mr. Mattson’s journey is his own, but his engagement with the Catholic Church speaks volumes. A ‘cradle’ Catholic, Mattson attended Catholic schools for twelve years, during which he recalls being taught only two unchallengeable moral propositions: the evils of poverty and the goodness of open immigration.
While his moral formation was being neglected, Daniel was being subjected to the great heresy of the twentieth century, that omnipresent putting of the cart before the horse, the teaching that Christ died to make the world a better place, so that everyman can be good without God while we perfect the natural order and build the good life. This overlooks the fact that such charitable works as Christians do are not merely natural but move out of the living relation with Christ in the sacraments and prayer. As Saint Paul put it, “If you give all your goods to feed the poor but do so without charity, it does you no good at all” Continue reading “Twenty-Second Sunday”