From the Pastor – February 1, 2015

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kindred, and will put my words into the mouth of the prophet; the prophet shall tell them all that I command. Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it.  (Dt. 18:18-19)

In the Acts of the Apostles, both St. Peter (3:22) and, St. Stephen (7:37) quote the above passage as referring to Jesus.  Jesus is the prophet who came to teach us (in word and deed) how to live according to God’s plan and attain the Kingdom of Heaven.  And when the time came, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon His Apostles to guide them and us through the Holy Catholic Church.  But Jesus foretold that some would not listen to His words, and He warned us that we would be persecuted for following Him.

When we think of persecution, we usually think of the martyrs of the early centuries of Christianity.  Most people don’t realize that there were more martyrs for Christianity in the 20th century than in all of the previous 19 centuries combined.  And persecution still exists.  And it exists in our own country.  The Church is ridiculed, mocked and ignored, especially when it speaks the truth regarding fundamental issues of life and human sexuality.  Abortion – the intentional killing of innocent unborn children – is accepted as some sort of Constitutional right. State governments have passed laws redefining marriage – an institution of mutual complementary self-giving between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of children – as also including same sex relationships, which are in and of themselves infertile.  The Church has also had to close adoption facilities when they would be forced to place children into same-sex relationships.

And the stakes get higher and higher.  The current administration has tried to pass laws requiring Catholic employers and organizations to pay for sterilization and all contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an early abortion. Never before in U.S. history has the federal government tried to force citizens to directly purchase what violates their beliefs. Fortunately, the courts have stepped in and pushed back against these attacks on conscience since they also attack our Constitution and Bill of Rights, which affirm our freedom to live by our religious beliefs.

But we must be ever vigilant.  It was not just the Roman pagans that were hostile to Christianity.  It has not just been the Muslims or the Communists or the Fascists or the Socialists.  And it’s not just liberal politicians of our current day.  It’s the devil that’s against the truth of the Gospel.

As Jesus is priest, prophet and king, we participate in those offices through our own Baptism.  We are called to be prophets in our on state of life by never failing to proclaim the Gospel of Life, the dignity of the Human Person, and the Sanctity of God’s plan in the Sacrament of Marriage.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty