Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Third Sunday of Lent

27 March A.D. 2011

“He that is not with me, is against me;
and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.”

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Mass Text]
[Latin Mass Text]
[Lenten Observance]

    Before saying anything else, it is appropriate to say that our Lord was in no way belittling His Blessed Mother when He appeared to contradict the woman who declared her blessed, saying “rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.”{2}  More than just the woman in the crowd, we have angelic testimony that Mary is “blessed ...among women.”{3}  What our Lord was saying was directed at the lawyers and the pharisees who continually tried to interfere with His ministry.  Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was a true descendent of Abraham, as were the scribes and the pharisees—some even claimed descent from King David, as did Mary and Jesus.  What our Lord was saying to the woman in the crowd was that mere blood relationship to Him was inadequate to confer God's blessing.  Mary was “blessed” because she had heard the word of God and kept it—the scribes and the pharisees were not “blessed” because thy chose to refute the Incarnate Word of God, as well as the words of His preaching.  Indeed, on hearing the word of God through the Archangel Gabriel, Mary gave her “fiat,” her total assent, to what God proposed, and became Mother and Temple of the Word of God by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.{4}  Mary is truly “blessed,” while those who contradict the words of her Son are surely condemned.{5}

    But. let us spend a moment in reflecting on the rest of Saint Luke's     Gospel that we read this morning.  Our Lord was accused by these scribes and pharisees of using the power of the Devil to free a speechless man from the power of the Devil.  It doesn't take much to see the absurdity of such a claim.  And it doesn't take much to see the common sense in our Lord's statement that “He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.”  What is surprising is how frequently Catholic people forget these most obvious revelations.

    “We are in the world, even if we are not of the world,” so we have to earn a living, we have to live in peace with our neighbors, and we have responsibilities in civil society.  These people around us may not be Christians, but that doesn't change the nature of our responsibilities.  Nonetheless, all of our responsibilities in the world ought to be carried out with the intention of “hearing the word of God and keeping it.”

    If we must earn our living among pagans, that is not an excuse to be a pagan.  Indeed, one of our foremost concerns must be to provide good Christian example to the pagans and the heretics with whom we must associate.  If their language is bad … if their morals are bad … if they are dishonest … if they fail to honor God and His Blessed Mother—then, all the more, we must be their opposite—with good morals, language, honesty, and devotion.

    Our children ought to receive a Catholic education.  Ideally, this would mean home schooling for most families, but that may not be possible for all.  If children must be enrolled in the government schools, that means taking a real interest in what they are taught, and making sure that they receive the “Catholic angle” on all of it—that means more than just supervising homework—perhaps requiring a lot of dinner table discussion, conferences with teachers, and involvement in things like the PTA.  It may even mean making one's self heard by the principal or the school board.  Make sure that your children have the opportunity to learn their catechisms, and upper grade books—read the Bible and the lives of the saints with them at bedtime.  Don't assume that a “Catholic school” is actually Catholic, or that it will fill all of these needs.

    Not all of our neighbors will be Catholics, but it certainly makes sense to cultivate our friendships with those who are—preferably with those who are sincere in the Faith, and not with Modernists, and not with those for whom “Catholicism” is merely a label that fails to indicate what is within.  Our church should be, primarily, the place where we come to worship God, and not a social club—we ought to recognize the rights of those who want to spend time in prayer both before and after Mass—but, nonetheless, our fellow parishioners ought to be numbered among our friends.  There ought to be a concern for each others' physical and spiritual wellbeing, and a desire to be helpful to whomever needs help.

    Our civic responsibilities are similar.  While not everyone is of the House of the Faith, we can be sure to support people in public life with whom we share the Natural Moral Law.  The Babylonian pagans of Hammurabi's time (nearly 2,000 years before Christ) were able to hammer out a pretty fair understanding of the Moral Law, even without the benefit of divine revelation—we ought to expect and demand every bit as much from the Republicans and Democrats and others in our midst!

    It is a grave error to think that good people can “dialogue” with evil people, or that there can ever be rapprochemant between truth and falsity, or good and evil.  Some things are flat out wrong, and with such things there is no place for so-called “bipartisanship,” cooperation, compromise, or “dialogue” between right and wrong.

    In matters of the Catholic Faith there is no room for compromise.  There is something of a danger in admiring the “noble pagan.”  There are people who appear to be good and do good, even though they lack the Catholic Faith, or any faith at all.  Support them in doing good, but don't even think about emulating them in what they lack.  Moselems and some Protestants may be our allies in the right to life, but we would be utterly wrong pattern our spiritual affairs after them—likewise, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jewish people—it is we, who have heard the word of God and keep it, who must be the example for them.

    It makes no sense to think that one can “cast out devils by the Devil.”  Nor any sense to think that we can ignore the word of God like the scribes and pharisees.  The Blessed Virgin is indeed “blessed” because she gave her “fiat” to the Word and the words of God.  We too can be “blessed,” but only if we do likewise.


“He that is not with me, is against me;
and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.”






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