Never, Never, Never Give Up


English: Sir Winston Churchill.

Preparing for lectio on this past Sunday’s Gospel passage, I found it interesting that two commentaries alluded to the fact that the event described (Luke 9:18-23) occur just after the feeding of the 5,000. It’s then that Jesus asks the disciples “who do the crowds say that I am?” obviously referring to the crowd just fed. From the disciples answer, it’s obvious that the crowds, even though they just witnessed Jesus perform a true miracle, have no clear idea who, or what, for that matter, Jesus is. It seems there was little benefit to them from being with Jesus in person.

I guess things aren’t much different today; “the crowds” seem to have no better idea who Jesus is than they did back 2000 years ago, but perhaps that’s to be expected.  The Gospel may never be popular but it’s the Truth and we need to do our best to share it.

Speaking of what “the crowds” are up to, obviously, the news from the Supreme Court this past week was upsetting, close to being red in the face, pound the table upsetting, to be honest.  One thing that makes it thus is that these decisions may end up causing more confusion than anything else.  It certainly doesn’t settle anything.  For one thing, the court more or less leaves the issue up to the states but it seems that opinion is divided whether that limitation will remain in effect.  A problem arises, for instance, when a legally married couple from one state moves to another where same sex marriage isn’t recognized?  Which laws govern their status?  Federal? State? Which state?  One thing is clear; the nose of the camel is in the tent, the push to legalize same sex “marriages” in the states will only get stronger.

The question is how to react to this news.  I think there are at least a couple things that, being Catholic, I’m going to do.

The first is, as the popular saying goes, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  Pope Benedict described it pretty well when he wrote, in the second volume of his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy that Jesus talked about the importance of vigilance in his final discourses.  Benedict defined vigilance in the following way: “not neglecting the present, speculating on the future, or forgetting the task at hand, but quite the reverse — it means doing what is right here and now, as is incumbent upon us in the sight of God.”  We shouldn’t speculate about the future, we should do to the best of our ability the next task that presents itself.

The second thing is to do what we can to evangelize the culture, to become leaven in the loaf, so to speak.  Fr Anselm Moynihan wrote that all of the myriad social issues that Catholics are so concerned about can best be resolved by seeking first the Kingdom of God.

“As the second Vatican Council has vigorously reasserted, the real mission of the Church is to bring the world back to God, to make it conscious of him as the supreme, adorable reality and its own highest good.  On the other hand it is perfectly true that in proportion to the successful accomplishment of that mission, justice and peace will reign among men, and even sufficient material prosperity, following our Lord’s promise to those who seek first the Kingdom of God.  Furthermore, these things will in fact only come about if the Church’s primary task is achieved . . .”

It would help me to do by part if I worked to know the faith better, to share it more effectively.  I’m going to go deeper in prayer, spend more time in lectio with Scripture, and it wouldn’t hurt be on speaking terms with the Catechism.  It’s not going to be easy, but no one said it would.

I’m sure you may a lot of ideas of your own, but the point is, think of something you can do and never, never, never give up.  As discouraging as the news seems to be these days, hope is never lost.  It’s time to wake up to the danger, gird our loins, white our sepulchers, and go work; it seems The Lord has challenged us, maybe honored us all, with the formidable task of bringing the world back to him; being discouraged won’t get it done.

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