By Deacon John De Gano
In his classic soliloquy, playwright William Shakespeare has the despondent Prince Hamlet contemplate the options of death or suicide.
Which is nobler? Accept the way things are or fight back?
As baptized Catholic-Christians, we are called to promote life, all life, from conception to natural death, yet we seem to be doing nothing to eliminate abortions and now ‘physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia (passed here in California under the false heading of “compassionate choice”).
Have we chosen to remain silent on these issues (and others) because we fear what others may think or do we really believe that it’s none of my business what other people do with and to their bodies?
Have we forgotten that no sin is private? That when one of us is hurting, we all suffer? And when we sin our break is with God AND the community.
Perhaps the question we should be thinking about is the one Jesus posed at the end of his parable on the widow and the unjust judge:
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” -- Luke 18:8
That is the question Christ pondered.
It is a question we should ask ourselves, also.
What do we believe about God and our responsibilities as followers/disciples of Jesus Christ?
Have we thrown away the baby (Jesus) with the bath water (political correctness)?
Are we giving away our moral ground for expediency or have we become so comfortable in this world that we have forgotten how the early Christians were joyfully persecuted for their faith? They knew what was right and were willing to stand up for what they believed. So that you and I might come to know and experience the love of God and choose Jesus over the world, the flesh and the devil.
Today, having a moral base (i.e., being religious) is viewed as a handicap. It labels you as a “hater” or “old fashioned.” Christians in various places are being arrested and even executed for their faith.
Relativism has made being good, bad, and being bad a “choice” with little or no consequences. The term “affluenza” is making a return visit as an acceptable reason or excuse for behaving badly!
What should we do? Give in? Go along (and try and fit in) with the crowd?
After all, anyone can be nice.
There’s a whole list of eight “be-attitudes” listed in Matthew’s Gospel for those who want to do good in the world, but only one that is directed specifically to those who want to follow Jesus.
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” – Matthew 5:11-12
This is where the rubber meets the road for the disciples of Jesus. This is the price of eternal life.
Jesus says plainly that we need to stand up and be counted among the saints if we want to be with him in heaven. If we hide our (faith) “candle under the bushel basket,” we will have no reward in heaven.
Each of us needs to reflect on Jesus’ words of concern and decide whose disciples we are: Either Jesus’ or someone else’s: (the ruler of this world, the Devil)
“I go to prepare a place for you,” Jesus told his disciples.
And then he will return.
Will he be able to find you when he returns?
That is, alas, the ultimate question.
John De Gano is a deacon at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Riverside.