About 15 years ago the newspaper at home had a front page headline that has always stayed with me. It was after a bad snowstorm and it showed a picture of our Church maintenance man shoveling snow off the front steps of the Church. The headline read ‘digging out after the cold settles in.’ Most apropos this past week in particular.
When it comes to our life in Jesus, I think that headline can easily apply to all of us ‘digging out after the cold settles in.’ Because that’s what happens to us all, isn’t it? When we become passive and ho-hum and honestly lazy in the life of faith, and the coldness of the world can easily overtake the fire of the Holy Spirit that is supposed to be engulfing our life.
There’s no shortage of examples of that, but the first line from our readings today points to the heart of all of it - before I formed you in the womb I knew you. God has formed us, God has made us - all of us, and we have become so cold and blind to that. Let’s look at society, then let’s look at ourselves.
The news this week - the legalization of full term abortion - arguments for the legalization of infanticide. We have become so cold to the most basic truth that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. The Holy Spirit proclaims that Direct abortion is, has always been, and always will be, gravely contrary to the moral law and is an intrinsic evil in all circumstance. Once we have lost that basic wonder and awe for the dignity of the most innocent of all human life, anything becomes possible.
It’s at the heart of the slippery slope of the culture of death - evidenced in how we struggle to do a lot things - to recognize the dignity of the elderly and the disabled; how we don’t want to welcome the immigrant or the refugee, or care for the poor, how we neglect the homeless and those in need; that culture of death is why even before the superbowl this weekend they arrested 33 sex traffickers who moved their business to Atlanta for the big game, and the professionals said said ‘that’s normal, it happens every year’; it’s how corrupt cardinals, bishops and priests abuse our kids; and in our own lives, it’s why we hate each other, it’s why we divide, it’s why we gossip, and all the ways in which we ignore, reject, or have grown cold to one another - because we fail to live the most basic of all Truths that all of us are created in the image and likeness of God, everything else is subordinate to that.
It’s time for us to proclaim the Truth. To live the Truth. Not privately, but publically. Bishop Barron put it this way ‘a privatized religion, one that never incarnates itself in gestures, behavior, and moral commitments, rapidly collapses.’ Our faith, the Truth must be lived. Evil must be called out. The culture of death is all around us, and seeping into our own lives in far too many ways, and we must be vigilant against it. How do we do that? By standing up and living as God commands us. By digging out after the cold settles in.
It does matter. Our silence against such things speaks volumes, and will condemn us in the end. We gotta pray. We gotta act. We gotta proclaim the Truth, and no longer be satisfied with a hypothermic Catholicism. God help us all. +