God has a way of highlighting the relevance of His Word. This morning, as I opened the Divine Office and began the reading for the Fifth Saturday in Lent, I was immediately struck by its relevance to the current political ruckus and our cultural rebellion against everything that is sacred.
“I said: Here I am! Here I am!
To a nation that did not call upon my name.
I have stretched out my hands all the day
to a rebellious people.
Who walk in evil paths and follow their own thoughts.
People who provoke me continually to my face (Isaiah 65:1b-3a).”
Our Lord continues to call “Here I AM! Here I AM!” today. Through His Divine Word we sense His nearness and the urgency of His message. He is the great “I AM” and moment by moment that reality is present to all who answer His eternal call and seek His Divine Presence. Christ perpetually nourishes us with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, ever present under the veil of the Eucharist. He is ready to feed us, to heal us, to care for our every need – if only we “Turn to Him and be saved.”
Yet, this generation is not unlike those in ancient times. We too are a “stiff-necked people.” We continue to be a “nation that did not call upon my name.” Our nation is currently embroiled in a debate regarding religious freedom and politics. At the core of this debate is who we are as a people – are we a nation committed to life, or to death? The current fray over the HHS Mandate is just the most recent example of our nation’s willingness to turn its back on God. The path leading to the subtle erosion of codified religious freedom has been well trod.
As a nation, we have consented to the slaughter of 50 million children since Roe-v-Wade made abortion the law of the land in 1973. Approximately 1.3 million babies die annually because, collectively, we as a nation have chosen to ignore His voice, and to embrace a culture of death. The culture of death distorts promiscuity as freedom, perversion as acceptable, and sickness as health. The bonds of marriage and family life are being redefined, as efforts advance to annihilate this most sacred bedrock of society. Pregnancy is categorized as a preventable disease; the innocence of childhood is destroyed within the hallowed halls of educational institutions. The preciousness of life has been so cheapened that death becomes brokered by professionals whose Hippocratic oath has become nothing more than a mere symbol of an abandoned set of iconic ethical principles. Each of these realities has found legal expression and government oversight. As tax payers we are put in the untenable situation of funding those malignant social agendas we loathe and paying for those causes that splinter the rubric of a functional society.
For this nation, and others like ours, our Christ “stretched out His hands all the day long.” We are the rebellious ones for whom His Precious Blood was shed. It is for us that the lance was thrust deep into His side, and the blood and water gushed forth to purify us. His Sacred Heart beat for us from the cross, and it was for us that He cried, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).”
We are the people “who walk in evil paths and follow their own thoughts.” We are a people who choose to accept language which minimizes the reality of the sin to which we acquiesce. We have exchanged a love of wisdom for a lust of all that is sensual; and true piety for open ridicule of religious truths.
How long will we choose to “provoke Him continually to His face?” As Holy Week approaches, let us endeavor to change our hearts. For as we begin to change ourselves, so too will our nation begin to change. He is still calling: “Here I AM! Here I AM!” It is for us to turn and answer Him.
Have a blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week,
Ad Jesum per Mariam,