It really should be “The Faith and our World.” Faith comes first and all things should be seen by the light of Faith. But many people have it exactly backwards. Instead of the world being on trial it is more often our Faith and the Scriptures that end up on trial. For a Christian it should be the world that comes under our scrutiny through the Word of God and the truth of our Faith. We ought to have some pretty tough questions for the world:
- Why is revenge and violence your way?
- Why do you celebrate promiscuity?
- Why do you constantly think that money and power is what makes you great?
- Why do you kill the unborn and praise it as a right?
- Why do you reject the wisdom of prior years as recorded in the Scriptures and Tradition?
- Why do you hate authority and any limits on your behavior?
- Why do you struggle so much with addiction?
- Why can’t you stay married?
- Why are your children’s test scores dropping? Why are they getting pregnant? Why do they have STDs?
- Why are your priorities so messed up?
- Why are you so worked up about silly things like Hollywood and Sports but not very interested in Faith, truth and justice and your final end?
- Why do you trust the shifting opinions of men more than the lasting truth of God?
Most Christians should be asking these sort of pointed questions to a world gone mad. But too many, filled with worldly thinking, put the Church, and Scripture on trial and demand answers only of these.
The fact is, too many Catholics tuck their faith under their politics, under their worldview, under their preferences. Instead of judging politics by faith, faith gets judged based on political views. Most Christians are far more passionate about politics than faith and if there is a conflict between what their faith says and what “the Party” says, guess what gives? A large number of Catholics base their moral reasoning not on Scripture or Church teaching but on what Hollywood stars, politicians, and pop-culture figures say.
And therefore when the Church does speak and/or Scripture is referenced and it goes against any of the modern thinking from the world gone mad, angry denunciations, or scoffing, laughter and so forth come forth even from Catholics. It is exactly backwards. It is the world that deserves this treatment. It is the world that deserves to come under our scrutiny and answer to our faith. The world should seem downright strange and alien to us, inimical to our understanding. The Book of James makes it plain:
Know you not that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
And God does in fact seem an enemy to many. They may not be able to see it that clearly so they direct their condemnation at the Church or at the Bible. But in the end these are just deflections since the Church and Scripture are merely reporting what God clearly teaches.
In the end, why not put the world on trial? Why not test the world by faith and see all things by the light of faith? Why not store up some pointed questions for a world gone mad? The early Christians who renounced the ways of the world and knew that the Lord had called them out of the world had a saying: Let grace come, and the world pass away. Maranatha! (Come Lord) (Didache, 10)
The following video is an excerpt from a sermon I preached Yesterday here at the Parish. Audio is me, photos are of the parish.