FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE CULTURE OF LIFE
FACING THE AFFLICTION AT HAND
November 14, 2011
Today’s reading: 1 Maccabees 1:10-63
The two Books of Maccabees tell the story of the suppression of Judaism in Palestine in the second century B.C. There are many parallels to what is happening in the world today regarding the culture of death.
V.10a — “There sprang from these a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes.” Today there are many counterparts to Antiochus Epiphanes. There are the “kings” like President Obama of the USA or Prime Minister Cameron of the UK. These are also the powerful institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations. Then there are the billionaire philanthropists and international liberal media. All of them strongly promote the culture of death.
V.11a — “In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law.” Today the western nations, the liberal Protestant churches, the United Nations, Catholic dissidents are all breaking the laws of God, in their acceptance of contraception, abortion, divorce, euthanasia, same-sex marriage.
V.11b — “and they seduced many people.” The anti-lifers seduce people with what seems to them to be reasonable arguments, like women’s health, right family size, tolerance and acceptance, individual rights, diversity.
V.11c — “Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us.” Christians have allied themselves with the world around, accepting secular humanism, modernism, liberalism, materialism, consumerism, hedonism.
V.11d — “since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.” Good is now considered as evil, such as many children, life-long marriage between a man and a woman, preaching against sins like active homosexuality, homeschooling, prayer in school, the Ten Commandments in government offices. The anti-life forces give us the lie that if we do not accept the culture of death, we will be afflicted with many evils, such as poverty, overpopulation, unhealthy family life, environmental degradation.
V.12,15b — “The proposal was agreeable; …. they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to wrongdoing.” Many Christians have accepted the lies, and began to live accordingly. Some even participate in persecuting faithful Christians.
V.13 — “the king …. authorized them to introduce the way of living of the Gentiles.” The western anti-life governments are using their economic, political and military power to impose the culture of death on the world.
V.15a — “They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant.” Many Christians have turned away from their faith, violating God’s laws on morality.
V.21a,24b — “He insolently invaded the sanctuary …. after he had spoken with great arrogance ….” Western governments are imposing the culture of death on the developing nations with impunity and arrogance, unmindful of their objections, culture and traditions, and are assaulting their faith and families.
V.24c,37a — “…. and shed much blood.” “And they shed innocent blood ….” There have been over a billion abortions in the world, many of which involved cruel dismemberment and crushing of the child. Much innocent blood has been shed. This is the holocaust of the unborn.
V.26c — “the beauty of the women was disfigured.” Many women who have had abortions have been permanently scarred emotionally. Further, their beautiful role in bringing children into the world and the wonderful privilege of being mothers have been denied them.
V.34a — “There they installed a sinful race, perverse men, ….” Sinful living is now the order of the day, where abortion is widespread, casual sex is common, divorces are rampant, and marriages are now for those of the same sex. Sexual license has led to perversity, and even children at very tender ages are being taught perverse sexual acts through valueless sex education. Homosexuality is celebrated, oftentimes with Gay Pride parades where there is a profusion of perverse acts.
V.38c — “She became a stranger to her own offspring.” The mother who is the one who should protect the life in her womb has become her child’s killer, sometimes considering what is in her womb as not a child but just a blob of tissue. She looks to her rights rather than to her child’s rights.
V.38d — “and her children forsook her.” There is widespread family dysfunction. Children are growing without their fathers and/or mothers. Parents are no longer taking proper care of their children, even abandoning them.
V.39a — “Her sanctuary was as desolate as a wilderness.” The wombs of women have become desolate wildernesses. Churches have been emptied of worshipers.
V.41-42a,44 — “Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, each abandoning his particular customs.” “The king sent messengers …. ordering them to follow customs foreign to their land.” The western powers are imposing their culture of death, their materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle on the world. They are unmindful of national cultures and traditions, and use money and power to force these nations to abandon their heritage. They are imposing a global culture of death.
V.45 — “to prohibit holocausts, sacrifices, and libations in the sanctuary, to profane the sabbaths and feast days.” There is a deliberate and concerted assault on faith. Prayer in school, crucifixes in government offices, and even Christmas carols are banned.
V.46b — “to build pagan altars and temples and shrines.” Socialistic atheism is being promoted. Abortion is ultimately pagan sacrifice to Baal.
V.48 — “to leave their sons uncircumcised, and to let themselves be defiled with every kind of impurity and abomination.” Children are no longer raised in the faith. Governments are taking over the roles of parents in the education of their children. Society and culture are infused with the promotion of sexual licentiousness.
V.49 — “so that they might forget the law and change all their observances.” A cultural brainwashing is going on. The faith is systematically being undermined by secular humanism. Even very young children are indoctrinated in the ways of sexual license.
V.50 — “Whoever refused to act according to the command of the king should be put to death.” Christians today are not yet being fed to the lions or crucified, but laws are more and more being passed to force everyone to partake of the culture of death. Hate speech laws are being enacted. Conscientious objection is being removed. Christians are in danger of being charged in court (even for such things as homeschooling or refusing to allow a gay couple into a B&B) and meted excessive fines. Christians may not yet lose their lives, but they are losing their freedom and property.
V.52 — “Many of the people, those who abandoned the law, joined them and committed evil in the land.” Many have boarded the culture of death bandwagon. These include Christians, even bishops, clerics, Catholic adoption agencies, Catholic social agencies, Catholic schools and hospitals.
V.54 — “the king erected the horrible abomination upon the altar of holocausts, and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars.” The holocaust of the unborn is being offered at the altar of Baal. Paganism is being promoted to replace authentic Christian faith. The horrible abominations of abortion, homosexuality and sexual license are already enshrined throughout the world.
We today live in a very darkened world. Our very faith and our families are under serious threat. How do we respond?
First, we simply must resist the culture of death. “But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean.” (v.62). The devil offers us to eat of the fruit that promises “you will be like gods” (Gen 3:5). We are enticed to be masters of our own destinies, enjoying life as we like to, not being restrained by anything or anyone, giving full license to the desires of our flesh. We must resolve in our hearts to obey God and live a life of faith in Jesus. And we must be determined, especially in the face of worldly pressures, to resist the culture of death and to promote the culture of life.
Second, we must be willing to give our all, even to lose our all, in order to remain faithful. “They preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.” (v.63a). The early Church was propelled by the blood of the martyrs, and so grew strong. Today Christians have been disarmed, and they want the pleasures and comforts of the world. It cannot be that way with us. We are called to live pure. We are called to defend the faith. We are called to promote the culture of life. We are called to live out our covenant. We must do so, embracing our crosses as we go along, and even willing to literally die for our faith.
“Terrible affliction was upon Israel.” (v.63b). Terrible affliction is today upon the whole world. And it will get worse before it gets better. The culture of death rampages over the whole land, devastating families, cultures, nations.
We know that God is victorious. But nevertheless we suffer the onslaught of godless men who push the agenda of death. Let us then be faithful to God and our call, and rise in defense of faith, family and life.
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