FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE CULTURE OF LIFE
April 19, 2012
Today’s readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2-20, John 3:31-36
We are called to choose life. Life is God’s most fundamental gift. Choosing life that is from Him, and consequently looking to God’s plan for our lives, brings us to live out our covenant. When we do so, we can look forward to an abundant life, a life of prosperity.
“Who among you loves life, takes delight in prosperous days?” (Ps 34:13). All of us! We cherish life that is God’s gift, and we look forward to living out our lives according to the fullness and abundance that God has already destined us for. But this does not just happen. God of course wants it. If we ourselves want it, then we need to live our lives according to God’s ways.
How? We look to Jesus who is the way and the truth and the life.
First, we live the truth. “Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking lies.” (Ps 34:14). Anti-lifers regularly lie or twist the truth. Pro-lifers must speak and proactively proclaim the truth.
Second, we follow the way of God. “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Ps 34:15). We do not conform to the ways of the world, that of secularism, consumerism, hedonism. We do not approve of the evil acts of abortion, contraception, same-sex unions. Rather, we fight for life. We seek to make the womb a zone of peace.
Then we can experience life as God intends. Then we will experience the reality that “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Ps 34:11b). All good things that come from God are available to us. Now that is abundance.
The truth, the way and the life of God point to justice in the world. Justice is giving to the other person what is his due. The greatest victims of injustice today are the innocent unborn who are murdered in the womb. This is the greatest injustice, depriving the innocent and defenseless of the most fundamental gift of God.
If we live the truth, we must speak the truth. Abortion is murder. Reproductive health (RH) is abortion. Active homosexuality is immoral. ObamaCare is an assault against faith. When we speak the truth, we can expect the forces of evil to react vigorously. Authorities will pass laws against so-called hate speech. “We gave you strict orders (did we not?) to stop teaching in that name.” (Acts 5:28a). If we persist, then we can be charged, arrested, fined, jailed, or worse.
What then should we do? We do as the apostles did. We must say in reply, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). This can mean civil disobedience. This means exposing ourselves to the full force of the law. Of course this posture will only enrage the enemy. “When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.” (Acts 5:33). So we follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the apostles who themselves were arrested, incarcerated, beaten and ultimately martyred.
This should not deter us. We have Jesus to turn to, one who already went through it all. He knows what we have to endure. He provides us the help and strength we need. “In my misfortune I called, the Lord heard and saved me from all distress.” (Ps 34:7). Whatever happens, we can look to our God for deliverance. “Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers from them all.” (Ps 34:20).
As we choose life, we are called to uphold life. Ultimately it is about turning to and choosing Jesus who is the life. We put our faith in him. We follow what he tells us to do, including fighting for justice in a darkened world where the culture of death predominates. We look to an abundant life here and now, as we look to fullness of life in the hereafter. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (Jn 3:36a).
But there is a downside. The reality is that “whoever disobeys the Son will not see life” (Jn 3:36b). We must follow the way of Jesus, we must speak his truth, and we must live his very life. We are to be in awe of him and give him the worship that is his due. We must walk the path of holiness. “Fear the Lord, you holy ones” (Ps 34:10a). When we do, then again we can look forward to God’s favor, and experiencing a full life, for “nothing is lacking to those who fear him.” (Ps 34:10b).
In this life we are witnesses to Jesus, called to obey him, empowered by his Spirit. “We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:32). The Holy Spirit empowers us, helps us to endure and persevere, guides us in the way of truth, emboldens us to defend life, sustains us through adversity. And here is the good news: God “does not ration his gift of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:34b). We can have the fullness of the strength of the Holy Spirit. We will have the fullness of life.
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