Someone dies. Someone really close to us is no longer here with us because they died.
It is not unusual that the response of the loving survivor is anger at God: “How could a loving God do this?”
We have to be reminded constantly about our Judeo-Christian beliefs as written by the author of the Old Testament book of Wisdom.
God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living….
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature….
These words were written about 50 years prior to the birth of Jesus, during a time of oppression and trial for those who believed in the God of Israel. He was writing to encourage believers, as we must do today and remind them what our faith has always taught. Death came into the world through sin. As Wisdom says,
… by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, ….
Paul would teach us,
Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death….
Jesus would later tell us we can overcome death, saying,
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.
And, in today’s Gospel Jesus’ shows his power over sin, disease and death.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision, on Friday, June 26, requires all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage”. The US Bishops call this “a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,”
Let us not forget that it was a narrow vote by the Supreme Court judges, 5 votes “for”, and 4 votes “against”.
Regardless of the narrow vote it is now the law of the land. Travis County began issuing same sex Marriage Licenses the same day, Friday.
However, human words can’t change God’s creation. Laws can’t change nature. The nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Friday’s Supreme Court decision does not settle the question of marriage. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. The Court is wrong again in Friday’s ruling. It is profoundly unnatural, immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage, in defiance of thousands of years of human experience.
The issue is not about “equality” for homosexuals. That is a false argument. The issue is about how God intended for men and women to be united, faithfully. The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. Our laws have a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.
Some of my personal friends are homosexuals. I know many Catholics, including myself, who want homosexuals to have equal civil rights and protections just like all of us. Pope Francis has even suggested civil unions for homosexuals. However, the word “marriage” has been well defined for thousands of years. A single court can change the meaning of a word, but no court can change God’s Natural Law. People like Bruce Jenner can have surgery to look like a woman. However, surgery and medications will never create a woman, or a man. Only God can do that. Marriage is like that: A Natural Law that God created.
This is not our Church. It is Jesus’ Church. Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. Our bishops urge us to follow our Lord. We will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.
The Catholic teaching about marriage is not a teaching against homosexuals. It is a teaching about “marriage”. The Church’s teaching on homosexuality is widely misunderstood. The Church’s teaching is the same for heterosexuals as for homosexuals; it is equal. We are all called to be chaste. Sex is a privilege of married couples. Sex is not for free enjoyment of everybody outside of marriage, not by heterosexuals and not by homosexuals. You can change words, but you cannot change truth.
Permit me to read to you a letter from our Bishop Vasquez, who asked all priests to read this to you today:
“I am deeply saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision to require States to recognize same-sex marriages, because the opinion is based on the court’s belief that the culture has changed its views of marriage. This causes confusion among those who are faithful to the Gospel and erodes rights of persons in each State.
Regardless of the court’s decision, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. We will remain true and faithful to the Gospel and we will continue to call people to look deeply into the beauty and understanding of our theology of marriage.
Jesus taught that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. We follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth. I join my brother bishops in encouraging the faithful to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who disagree with our faith and moral convictions. We intend to proclaim the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia.” Bishop Joe Vasquez, Bishop of Austin.
We trust in God. We must not be afraid of anything, except of offending God.