FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE CULTURE OF LIFE
FIGHTING THE CULTURE OF DEATH
September 26, 2011
Through today’s readings, God instructs us on some aspects involved in the culture of life.
Today’s prophetic word from Zechariah gives us a picture of how life used to be in many societies. “Old men and old women, each with staff in hand because of old age, shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem. The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in her streets.” (Zec 8:4-5). You can practically picture the scene. Streets bustling with activity as children play. The elderly looking on with bright smiles. Joyful noises. A neighborhood community enjoying life.
Today abortion, legal in many countries and imposed in countries like China, has already taken the lives of billions of the unborn. With less of the young who make up the workforce, and more of the elderly living longer due to better health care, thus resulting in a serious threat to social security programs, the next natural step is to eliminate the elderly. This is done through euthanasia (mercy killing without consent of the victim) or assisted suicide (with consent of the victim). With abortion we lose the children. With euthanasia we lose the elderly. The culture of death aborts children because they are unwanted and are just more mouths to feed. The culture of death will kill the elderly because they are no longer productive and are also just more mouths to feed.
Another aspect of the culture of death is contraception. This is when methods are used to prevent fertilization, through condoms, IUDs, pills, etc. In many cases fertilization has already occurred, and so the contraceptive becomes an abortifacient.
Now abortion is evil. And surgical abortion is particularly cruel and diabolical, oftentimes involving dismemberment of the baby and crushing of the skull. It is sacrifice of the innocent unborn to Baal.
But there is a sense where non-abortive contraception is even more diabolical than abortion. The psalmist says, “Let this be written for the next generation, for a people not yet born, that they may praise the Lord” (Ps 102:19). You see, with conception, there is already a life, and there is already a soul. When that baby is aborted, the soul goes to heaven, to be with our heavenly Father forever, giving Him worship. With contraception, the life that God intended does not come to be. Thus the devil deprives God of a soul that would have been with Him forever in heaven.
The devil, cruel as he is, does not promote the culture of death just as an avenue for his cruelty. His aim is to destroy God’s work, to bring down the human beings who are God’s children and whom He loves, and to deprive God of souls that will worship Him eternally in heaven.
Another aspect of the culture of death is the death penalty. This is the state taking the life of a prisoner in retribution for crime. This is wrong because only God can give life and take away life. Further, it deprives the criminal of the opportunity to repent and become a productive member of society. This is not to mention the many injustices done to innocent people, especially among the poor.
God is concerned about all His children. Those who are lost He seeks out. Those who have sinned He forgives. “The Lord looked down from the holy heights, viewed the earth from heaven, to attend to the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.” (Ps 102:20-21).
We see in all these how the culture of death demeans life. It defines personal and societal well-being merely in materialistic terms. It would shun anyone or anything that would be considered burdensome to personal enjoyment. It lives for the present moment without considering eternity.
Children especially are considered burdensome. So children are prevented from being conceived through contraception or are aborted if conceived. Children are unwanted by couples who just want to enjoy their selfish lifestyles.
But according to Jesus, children are the greatest in the Kingdom! The disciples were arguing which of them was the greatest (Lk 9:46). In a way, in today’s societies, that is what people do–as they look to what they have compared to what others have, in terms of career, money in the bank, cars and homes, and so on. Now Jesus could just have set them straight with a clear teaching, but what he did was to take a child and place it by his side (Lk 9:47). He then said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Lk 9:48a). This must have been disconcerting to the disciples, as children had no status in the society at that time.
What is it that we learn from a child? Among other things, we can learn purity of heart and total dependence on the Father. But as far as the culture of life is concerned, we learn that children are very important to God. Rather than rejecting children we should receive them. And when we receive them in the name of Jesus, that is, recognizing God’s plan for humanity, including the importance of life and family, and accepting it, then we receive God.
The children were least in the society of the disciples’ time, as they are becoming least in today’s societies. But to Jesus the least is the greatest (Lk 9:48b) and is the way to the Father. With a contraceptive mentality, society has not only been losing its children and decimating its homes, but people have lost their own way home as children going back to their Father in heaven.
The culture of death is deeply entrenched in the world today. But we are called to the seemingly impossible task of defending life. When we do so, we are doing the very will of the Father, restoring His very plan for the life of the world. As such, we can call upon His power and strength. We do so knowing how weak and lowly we are, but in weakness is our strength, God’s strength. “Heeding the plea of the lowly, not scorning their prayer (Ps 102:18), God Himself will fight for and with us. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also, says the Lord of hosts?” (Zec 8:6).
The anti-life forces are so strong, powered by the US government, the European Union, the United Nations, billionaire philanthropists, international liberal media, multinational pharmaceuticals, giant abortion organizations. In the face of this David-and-Goliath fight, God gives us His assurance. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun.” (Zec 8:7). From east to west, God will bring deliverance. “I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice.” (Zec 8:8).
Perhaps we will once again see the day when our all city streets are filled with the old and the young.
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