Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Homily for the Thirty-First Sunday; Year B

Rather than the text of the homily, just some points for consideration:
  • Christ tells us the first, and most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second? Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Because of Original Sin, our heart, soul, and mind are weakened and darkened. We desire those things we shouldn't, or desire even good things in excess. Our intellect is afflicted by these desires, and we attempt to see reality according to our preferences, instead of according to the truth.
  • No area of our life is exempt from the love of God -- our family life, economic life, sexual life; our recreation, health, and education; even politics are under the realm of Christ's Kingdom. We learn the principles from the Church, and then enact these according to our proper competence. For the lay faithful in the Church, this means proclaiming the Gospel by your lives and choices.
  • Politically, this means that the social order ought to be converted to Christ and conformed to the truth by the involvement of the laity. Nevertheless, we must always live and act in accordance with the truth, given to us by the teaching authority of the Church. Political choices bear great weight in the moral life because of the responsibility we have to govern ourselves rightly.
  • The Church hierarchy does not propose candidates or public policy decisions, but rather seeks to form consciences and sanctify the laity, who in turn act upon well-formed consciences in their political life and build up the social order.
This Tuesday's election presents a concrete opportunity to direct our hearts and illumine our minds according to the Church's timeless and unchangeable teaching on the respect for human life. In particular:
  • Respect for human life at its beginning and end is essential. This defines our political responsibility and governs the limits by which we may properly exercise our political freedom. Embryonic stem-cell research and abortion cannot be supported because of their direct attack on the dignity of the human person.
  • No perceived social benefit, aggregate good, or other criteria can overcome this fundamental and foundational respect for human life at its beginning and end. Moreover, this is not an issue of revealed truth, but rather a circumstance in which our natural reason has become clouded. Therefore the Church calls our attention to the dignity of the person, even though that person is still in the womb.
  • Marriage between one man and one woman also reveals our fundamental understanding of the human person, the meaning and dignity of human sexuality, and the context in which children will be raised.
An objection may be raised, namely, that other areas of "respect for life", such as concern for the poor, improvement in the educational system, questions about just war, and capital punishment, are just as important. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger addressed this very question in a 2004 letter to Cardinal McCarrick, of Washington, D.C. We read: "There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia" (from July 2004 Memo).

Political issues often arouse our deepest emotions and reactions. The world of politics speaks to the very core of our beliefs about right and wrong, good and evil, justice and injustice. The Cross of Jesus Christ directs us to seek not our own wills, our own political parties, or salvation in anyone or anything but Him. Even in our political life, Christ Himself desires to direct our affections, illumine our minds, and inspire our souls so that we may serve Him with all our strength.

May we serve Him faithfully, not just this coming Tuesday, but every day of our life.