We live in a PC world. The news media often drives it. We have become so cautious not to offend anyone. As a result, we may wind up compromising what we truly believe in the name of tolerance. There are rumblings among the populus, however, that ever-more people are becoming fed-up with what is going on.
What if the early Christians acted in the same manner? Would they have been so cautious not to proclaim Jesus is Lord in the face of torture and death? As I celebrated the feast of the Apostles Sts. Philip and James at Mass this morning (Tuesday, May 3, 2016), I thought about how the early Apostles were willing to die rather than compromise their beliefs. How easy it would have been to acknowledge that Caesar was divine (as was demanded at the time), and go on living. Couldn’t Jesus just be acknowledged as one god among many other gods? After all, the Greeks and Romans were polytheistic cultures and would more than likely tolerate one more god. It would be the politically correct thing to do at that time. Instead, the early Christians bravely faced torture and death in their unwavering proclamation that Jesus is the Risen Son of God. For them, there was no other option.
Today, we may not say certain things are objectively wrong for fear of offending someone. Abortion is not killing an innocent human being (dare I say murder?) but a woman’s choice. Marriage (the permanent, exclusive, open-to children union between a man and a woman) is redefined not according to timeless, divine principles but as we enlightened humans currently see fit. We don’t call co-habitation fornication, but a trial-marriage. Euthanasia (killing the elderly) is mercy-killing. Adulterers are swingers. The difference between partial-birth abortion and Infanticide is negligible. Homosexual acts fall into the category of an alternate lifestyle. Artificial contraception is never wrong or sinful in many people’s mind. There is no longer a proper understanding that we have a moral obligation to God to attend Mass weekly. Wrong becomes right. Right is no longer right. The world is horribly confused. And this confusion does have serious, eternal consequences.
God in timeless wisdom and with apparently incredible patience looks at us and, I suspect, desires that we would listen and obey. There is a law written in your hearts. I sent you the prophets. I even gave you my only Son as my definitive Word. You have centuries of saints and martyrs witnessing to the truth by their lives. My gift of the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church. Please listen. Don’t delay.
I trust that God is all-merciful. There is an emphasis on His mercy in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. I also believe that God is all-just. God’s justice is tempered by His mercy. (See James 2: 12-13) Mercy is offered to us so that we admit our sinfulness, desire to change our erring ways and completely conform our lives to the teachings of Christ. Mercy is not like a get out of jail free card. We can’t just continue with our sinful ways assuming God to be some pushover—some lenient parent—who will continually let us do whatever we want without consequences. We are all going to Heaven despite what we do here on earth. Not really. Why would Jesus have suffered and died in such a horrible manner if we all just go to Heaven no matter what we think, say or do? No, if we refuse mercy, if we refuse to listen, if we fail to change, then God remains all-just. We will get what we actually deserve. And it wasn’t because God did not try to get through to us time and time again.
If political correctness blurs our moral correctness then I would suggest that we make the necessary adjustments to our thinking and acting. We need to realize that the truth—the objective moral teachings given by Jesus Christ and faithfully proclaimed by His Church—are the means given us for our eternal salvation.
And eternal does mean forever.
Fr. Ed Namiotka